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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDA67544
Recording details: December 2004
Caird Hall, Dundee, Scotland
Produced by Andrew Keener
Engineered by Simon Eadon
Release date: September 2005
Total duration: 21 minutes 52 seconds

'It would be difficult to find a more enticing choice of repertory for the first volume in Hyperion's enterprising Romantic Cello Concerto series than the three sumptuous late 19th-century compositions on offer here … Gerhardt's warmly recorded performance lays claim to being the most convincing of all [previous recordings], not least for the passion and sensitivity of his playing as well as the committed contribution of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra under Carlos Kalmar' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Alban Gerhardt is the superb soloist in the lovely Dohnányi piece, and he introduces the no less impressive concerto by d'Albert and Enescu's early Symphonie concertante' (The Independent)

'Gerhardt's playing, with its richly hued tone, gets right to the heart of this music and brilliantly ignites the fireworks that the Enescu and d'Albert pieces have up their sleeves' (The Daily Telegraph)

'Alban Gerhardt's light-fingered and forward-moving (but never pushy) performances—elegant in tone, eloquent in phrasing, deft in rhythm—stand out for their freshness and their evident enthusiasm for the music. Orchestral support and engineering are both excellent, and Martin Anderson's notes are a pleasure to read. An auspicious release' (International Record Review)

'Enescu's Symphonie Concertante predictably provides sturdier pleasure, with its unstoppable torrents of cello song, intermittent Romanian colouring, and music of symphonic fibre' (The Times)

'As one has come to expect of him, the cellist Alban Gerhardt has delivered this CD of little-known repertory with consummate virtuosity and style. But it's not just technical élan that marks out his playing, for the lyrical and unswervingly Romantic melodic material of the Dohnányi is captivatingly sculpted with full-blooded intensity. Add to that a remarkably clear recording together with an excellent and sensitive orchestral partnership, and the discs seems self-recommending' (The Strad)

'The lush lyricism and engaging virtuosity of the idiomatic solo writing is graced by a quite superb soloist of whom I hope we shall be hearing much more' (Classic FM Magazine)

Cello Concerto in C major, Op 20
composer

Andante con moto  [7'09]

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Eugen d’Albert’s background was as colourful as his own life was to prove to be. His ancestors included the composer Domenico Alberti (c1710–46), after whom the Alberti bass takes its name, and his paternal grandfather was an adjutant to Napoleon I. Eugen was born in Glasgow in 1864 and numbered his composer father, Arthur Sullivan and Ebenezer Prout among his early teachers. Like Dohnányi, the young d’Albert attracted praise as a pianist, and in 1881, at the instigation of Hans Richter, he went to Vienna where he met Liszt, travelling to Weimar the next year to study with him; Liszt esteemed d’Albert to be one of his most significant pupils.

Although d’Albert the performer was catholic in his taste, with Debussy featuring in his wide repertoire, d’Albert the composer was, again like Dohnányi, a Brahmsian. (The respect was mutual: d’Albert’s performances of Brahms’s music earned the enthusiasm of its creator.) His only cello concerto, in C major, Op 20, written in 1899, opens with a surprise: instead of the soloist announcing the principal theme, it is the oboe which first steps forward to present it, over arpeggios from the cello, followed by the clarinet; only then does the cello itself pick up the melody, the arpeggios now in the orchestra. The woodwinds remain a prominent feature of the orchestration, offering the rhapsodizing cello its partners in dialogue or commentary over the expansive solo part. Veiled horns bring in a Molto tranquillo passage which leads, in a series of cello trills, to the central Andante con moto, in F sharp minor, launched by an arching melody in the strings which is then taken up by the yearning cello. A series of upward runs seeks to animate the music, but it sinks down again, tranquillo, as a passage of pizzicato chords from the soloist initiates a beautifully tender exchange with the flutes. The upward runs make another effort, but the cello gently brings the argument to a close. The Allegro vivace finale breaks out without a pause, the toccata-like writing for the cello again pointed by the woodwind, the flutes bringing the texture a particular brightness. A stormy development based on a decisive Schumannesque figure gives the soloist a few bars’ rest; when the cello resumes, it is with the arpeggios and solo oboe which first launched the work.

from notes by Martin Anderson © 2005

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