Dvořák: Cello Concerto in B Minor, Op. 104 & Cello Concerto in A Major
Among the world’s leading cellists, Steven Isserlis performs using old-style gut strings. Compared to the more powerful modern steel ones favored by most other players, he feels that the expressive warmth of gut strings is the greater asset. These were also still widely in use in 1895, when Dvořák completed his great Cello Concerto in B Minor, so that the sound here is close to what the composer himself would have imagined. Isserlis delivers all the exciting virtuosity that the Concerto demands, and he’s also deeply responsive to the music’s wistful streak, while the Mahler Chamber Orchestra and conductor Daniel Harding capture one beautifully colored moment after another. The Concerto features a quotation from one of Dvořák’s own songs, included here in an orchestral arrangement. Isserlis brings out the likable tunefulness of the young Dvořák’s much less-known Cello Concerto in A Major.