Magazine article Gramophone

Herbert: Cello Concertos-No 1

Magazine article Gramophone

Herbert: Cello Concertos-No 1

Article excerpt


Cello Concertos (a)--No 1, Op 8; No 2, Op 30.

Irish Rhapsody

(a) Mark Kosower VC

Ulster Orchestra / JoAnn Falletta

Naxos (B) 8 573517 (64' * DDD)

Casals is generally credited with making the great leap forward in cello-playing, but if you listen to Victor Herbert's 1912 recording of Daniel van Goens's flashy Scherzo it might persuade you that the Irish-born German-trained composer got there first.

He toured as a virtuoso cellist from the 1870s before achieving even greater fame as a composer of operettas. Hardly surprising, then, that both concertos for his instrument combine strong melodic appeal with technically challenging solo parts. Both have the standard three movements. The D major Concerto (No 1) was composed in 1884, just two years before Herbert and his new wife emigrated to America. This is only its second recording. The E minor (No 2) was premiered in 1894 (it was hearing this work that finally persuaded Dvorak, Herbert's boss at New York's National Conservatory, to compose his own concerto for the instrument).

The latter is no longer such a rarity on disc. Georges Miquelle's pioneering 1962 account with Howard Hanson, originally paired with Bloch's Scbelomo (Mercury, 10/62), can now be found either with the Sinfonia in G by Johann Peter (Naxos download) or Grofe's Grand Canyon Suite (Mercury, 10/95). …

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