Magazine article Gramophone

Martinu * Shostakovich: Martinu Cello Concerto No 2

Magazine article Gramophone

Martinu * Shostakovich: Martinu Cello Concerto No 2

Article excerpt

Martinu * Shostakovich

Martinu Cello Concerto No 2, H304

Shostakovich Cello Concerto No 2, Op 126

Christian Poltera vc

Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin / Gilbert Varga

BIS (F) BIS2257 (64' * DDD/DSD)

Martinu completed his Second Cello Concerto in January 1945, shortly before commencing work on the Fourth Symphony. In comparison with the First Cello Concerto, the Second is a rather neglected work, not helped by Martinu's failure to secure a performance during his lifetime. It is nevertheless a highly attractive piece, luminously scored and imbued with lyricism and an air of nostalgia. Christian Poltera's performance is appreciably faster in all three movements than the recordings by Angelica May and Raphael Wallfisch, but his approach very much suits the music's rhapsodic nature while still ensuring the score's darker and more pensive passages make their effect. The heartfelt close of the first movement is a particular highlight, and the extrovert melodies of the Allegro finale are projected with virtuosity and excitement. The playing of the orchestra under Varga has all the character and refinement of the Czech Philharmonic under Neumann for May and is much more clearly recorded. …

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