A major recording
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Dvorak's cello concerto is an oft- performed and recorded work, but few are the artists who literally transfigure the score. Piatigorsky was probably one of the greatest cellists ever and he can be compared only to the best : Mainardi, Feuermann, Tortelier to name but a few. His interpretation is close to definitive and the BSO under Charles Munch is in its heyday.Even more interesting is Walton's concerto : the recording here is the first ever, made a few days after the world premiere by the same interpreters. If you had to have only one interpretation of this work, it would be this one."
A Great Recording plus Overwhelming Music
BLee | HK | 11/30/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Definitely the best Dvorak available. Not only is the cello a wonder, the support from the orchestra under Munch is a wonder too, and so is the recorded sound. The whole piece is as dramatic and poetic as any great symphony, and it's overwhelmingly exciting, and the credits should be shared by both the cello and the orchestra. So is his Walton. A great treasure indeed. Sure Feuermann was a miracle. Toscanini ( a cellist before becoming a conductor) amongst others saw him as the greatest cellist of the century; Heifetz was patient enough to have waited for him during a recording session while the latter played pingpong with his pupil, and even Casals opined that Feuremann was the greatest artist of the time. BUT, the recording is rather primitive: even a few years earlier than Casals'. As to Casals himself, there were so many causes for his greatness, which didn't have to come from this piece or any other pieces at all.I haven't had a chance to hear Totelier play this piece, but I have heard Rostrospovich and Starker. Readers have to hear for themselves to see if they agree that Piatigorsky have outshone them, albeit that technically, in the narrow sense, they have might have an even greater command of the instrument. Horowitz ranked him the greatest cellist after Casals, whereas Furtwangler handpicked him to chair the principal cellist of Berlin Philharmonic. I have heard Gutman play this piece in the flesh supported by the St Petersburg Orchestra: she has come close to him, but not quite, even though she was supported by a better orchestra. The difference might have partly come from the conductor after all.Fans of Ma Yo-yo or De Pru should perhaps lend their ears to this Maestro or else they don't know what they have missed."
Good reading let down by poor intonation
S. H. Malton | London | 02/09/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I bought this recording more as a fan of the Living Stereo series rather than as a Dvorak or Piatigorsky one, but liking the piece & having heard great things about the 'cellist it seemed like a good idea.
Unfortunately, although the recording is typically Living Stereoesque - full, warm & with excellent detail & presence - Piatigorsky's playing had too many mistakes in it, especially with regard to intonation, for it to be comfortable listening. It sounded like the playing of someone who was once great but who had now got a little too old, like Horowitz in his late 70s, so I was somewhat surprised to note that Piatigorsky was still in his 50s when he recorded this.
Apart from the cringe-worthy tuning there was also some dodgy ensemble between soloist & orchestra - it just seemed a little sloppy.
Certainly not the best recording ever - I'm not sure what is, but I'd have no hesitation in recommending Raphael Wallfisch's recording on Chandos."