Sunday, June 14, 2015

Top 50 Most Recommended Cello Concertos

Top 50 Most Recommended Cello Concertos
One per composer

Inspired with my Top 60 Most Recommended Violin Concertos that I posted years ago, which seemingly gain lots of visitors, I going to list out 50 most recommended in Cello concertos. As the nature of this task, it will only limited to my knowledge about the genre, but I think most of mainstreams (and non-mainstream) repertoire is included. As with the violin concertos, there are tons of pieces from Baroque and Classical era that hardly can included due to my limited knowledge, so the list is heavily Romantic era onward.

I will group these Cello Concertos into three groups, (1) Mainstreams repertoire, which probably best tested by time (2) Underrated repertoire that should make it to the mainstream but only less popular (3) hardcore list for cello concerto,  rarely seen in performance but still they are gems in the genre. Btw, the list is technically not only in form of cello concertos, but rather works for cello and orchestra. This is to accommodate popular pieces such as Bruch's  Kol Nidreai (#5) or Bloch's Schelomo for cello solo and orchestration (#10) that technically not a cello concertos. Also included are double concertos (Brahms' #6) and triple concertos (Beethoven's #12). Overall, all major composers were selected. The missing major composers are Mendelssohn, Schubert, Sibelius, Stravinsky etc that didn't have (notable) cello concertos in their port folio. For some pieces, I write in short commentaries. Recommended recording is in Amazon links.

Top 50 Most Recommended Cello Concertos

Top 1 - 10 - the mainstream repertoire
Top of the list is Lalo's cello concerto.  Arguably, Lalo's Cello Concerto is also one of most popular concerto in classical music. Oftenly in live performing up to this day, and tons of recordings available. The second one is very personal choice and I picked up Dvorak's cello concerto in B minor as #2 recommendation. Fans of Dvorak's Symphony no.9 will found this familiar. The concerto is very "American" in feel, something that similar to his popular string quartet no.12 "American". Elgar and Shostakovich are the other most popular cello concerto in history. Then Brahms' double concerto. Saint-Saens is another personal choice that make it to top 10. Saint-Saens has two cello concerto and both are pretty close each other. Kabalevsky is the 'outsider' that make it to top 10. Same with Khachaturian, in which his violin concertos is more popular, but his cello concerto deserve good place in the repertoire. Bruch and Bloch's cello solo for orchestra is also very popular and must listen for fans of cello concerto. For recommended recording click on the link to Amazon.

1. Lalo  - Cello Concerto in D minor (1876) records [by Janos Starker, du Pre]
2. Dvorak - Cello Concerto in B minor Op.104 (1894-1895) records [by Pablo Casals, Moser]
3. Elgar - Cello concerto in Em Op. 85 records [by Pablo Casals, Paul Watkins]
4. Shostakovich - Cello concerto no.1 in Eb Op. 107 and No.2 in G records [by Rostropovich]
5. Bruch - Kol Nidrei Op.47 records [by Pierre Fournier]
6. Brahms - Double Concerto in Am, Op. 102 for violin, cello and orch. records [by Shaham/Wang]
7. Saint-Saens - Cello Concerto No.1 in A minor Op.33 and No.2 in Dm Op.119 records [by Isserlis]
8. Kabalevsky - Cello Concerto No.1 in Cm Op. 49 and No.2 in Gm Op.77 records [by Wallfisch]
9. Khachaturian - Cello Concerto in E Minor (1946) records [by Shakshovskaya]
10. Bloch - Schelomo Rhapsodie Hébraïque for cello solo and large orchestra (1916) records [by Casals]

Top 11-25:
of which the Baroque and Classical era must be represented. I picked Carl Emmanuel Bach's concerto in A major for this late Baroque era, and Haydn's concerto no.1 in C for Classical era. Bach and Haydn wrote more concertos but my personal favorite are these. Beethoven's triple concerto is very popular, only that this is not pure cello concerto, so can't put in the top 10. Myaskovsky is the next must listen piece, his concertos by him are extremely good. Tchaikovsky is also very popular but it is more a one variations rather than a concerto.

11. Bach, Carl Emmanuel - Cello Concerto in A major records [by Tim Hugh]
12. Beethovens -  Concerto for Violin, Cello, and Piano in C major, Op. 56 records [by Yo-Yo Ma, Perlman, Barenboim]
13. Myaskovsky, Nikolai - Cello Concerto in C Minor, Op. 66 records [by Tarasova]
14. Strauss - Don Quixote for Cello, viola and orchestra records [by Rostropovich]
15. Prokofiev - Cello Concerto Op.58 records [by Gerhardt]
16. Dohnányi - Konzertstück in D major Op 12 records
17. Schumann  - Cello Concerto in A minor, Op. 129 (1850) records [by Rostropovich]
18. Penderecki - Cello Concerto No. 1 (1972) and No.2 (1982) records [by Noras]
19. Pfitzner - Cello Concerto No.1 in G Op.42 (1935) and No.2 in Am Op.52 ('43) records [by Geringas, Gerhardt]
20. Rubinstein - Cello Concerto in Dm Op.96 and in Am Op.65 records [by Thomas-Mifune]
21. Tchaikovsky - Variations on a Rococo Theme, this is the more popular cello pieces to his unfinished Cello Concerto in B minor (1893) records [by Vardai]
22. Stanford, Sir Charles - Cello Concerto in D minor (1879) records [by Rosefield]
23. Walton - Cello Concerto (1956) records [by Watkins, Poltera]
24. Williams, John - Concerto for Cello and Orchestra (1994) records [by du Pre, Yo-Yo Ma]
25. Vieuxtemps - Cello Concerto in Am Op. posth 46 and in Bm Op. posth 50 records [by Gerhardt, Hallynck]
26. Haydn - Cello Concerto No.1 in C H. 7b/1 records [by Yo-Yo Ma, Rostropovich]

top 26-50:
these are following list for eager fans to dig out more into cello concerto. they are mostly randomly sorted actually. Notable are Kalevi Aho concerto for 2 cellos from the 21st century era. Two Classical era composer that are famous in cello concertos are Luigi Boccherini and Pleyel. I picked up one concertos from each of them, in which they wrote many more.

27. Aho, Kalevi - Concerto for 2 Cellos and Orchestra (2003) records [by Lindberg]
28. Lutoslawski - Cello Concerto (1969) records [by Rostropovich]
29. Barber - Cello Concerto in A minor, Op. 22 (1945) records [by Poltera]
30. Bax - Cello Concerto in G minor (1932) records [by Wallfisch]
31. D'Albert - Cello concerto in C Op. 20  (1899) [by Gerhardt, Zollman]
32. Boccherini - Cello Concerto No. 9 in B-flat major, G. 482 records [by Moller, Bronzi]
33. Hindemith - Cello Concerto O.3 (1916) records [by Poltera]
34. Korngold - Cello Concerto Op.37 (Deception) 1946 records [by Steckel]
35. Ligeti - Cello Concerto for Siegfried Palm records [by Siegfried Palm]
36. Rozsa - Cello Concerto Op.32 records [by Harell]
37. Delius - Cello Concerto (1921) records [by Watkins]
38. Dutilleux - Cello Concerto "Tout un monde lointain" records [by Rostropovich]
39. Glazunov - Concerto-ballata in C, Op. 108 (1931) records [by Rudin]
40. Gulda  - Concerto for Cello and Wind Orchestra (1980) records [by Schiff]
41. Gernsheim, Friedrich - Cello Concerto in E minor, Op. 78 records [by Gerhardt]
42. Moeran E.J. - Cello Concerto in B minor (1945) records [by Johnston]
43. Atterberg -  Concerto for cello & orchestra in C minor, Op 21 records [by Truls Mørk
44. Monn, Georg Matthias - Cello Concerto in Gm, re-arranged by Schoenberg  records [by Zipperling]
45. Raff - Cello Concerto No.1 in D minor Op.193 and No.2 in G Op. Posth records [by Müller-Schott]
46. Popper  - Cello Concerto No.2 in E minor Op.24 (1880) and other four concertos records [by Wen-Sinn Yang]
47. Britten - Cello Symphony, Op. 68 (1963) records [by Rostropovich]
48. Herbert, Victor - Cello Concerto No. 2 in E minor, Op. 30 (1894) and no.1 in D records [by Capucon]
49. Volkmann - Cello Concerto in A minor Op.33 (1853) records [by Gerhardt, Wohlmacer]
50. Pleyel - Cello Concerto in C (1782-84) Ben.101 records [by Szabo]

other notable concertos:

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

George Onslow String Quartets Opus 8 and 10 - Quatuor Ruggieri

George Onslow (1784-1853)
Performer : Quatuor Ruggieri
Label: Aparte
Release: 2015

Quatuor Ruggieri recorded more George Onslow string quartets. Having previously recorded three string quartets, they added three more on this CD. This time they recorded Opus 8 no.1 and no.3. The first quartet in Opus 8 already exposed to us by the Mandelring Quartet, yet no.3 in A major is likely a first recording of this. In the third quartet is Op.10 No.3 in E flat major. This make it that more George Onslow's earlier period string quartets are being available for public now.

The CD notes:

George Onslow (1784-1853) was a French composer of English descent. His wealth, position and personal tastes allowed him to pursue a path unfamiliar to most of his French contemporaries - one that was closer to that of German romantic composers. His principal output was chamber music and Onslow's efforts expanded the audience for a genre that was not popular in Paris at the time. Amongst the many works he wrote, his String Quartets stand out for their unique spirit of invention. This recording by the Quatuor Ruggieri bring out both the intelligence and Parisian charm of these unjustly neglected works.

Ruggieri Quartet:
Gilone Gaubert Jacques, violin
Grattard Charlotte, violin
Delphine Grimbert,  viola
Emmanuel Jacques,  cello


String Quartet in C minor, Op. 8 No. 1
1 Largo / Allegro agitato 7:51
2 Adagio 5:55
3 Minuetto allegretto 2:30
4 Finale presto 3:45

String Quartet in E flat major, Op. 10 No. 3
5 Largo / Allegro con brio 5:51
6 Andantino sostenuto 7:14
7 Minuetto allegro (air de danse des montagnes d'Auvergne) 3:15
8 Allegro vivace 5:37

String Quartet in A major, Op. 8 No. 3
9 Allegro 8:06
10 Andante non troppo lento 3:55
11 Minuetto allegro 3:30
12 Finale vivace 4:43