Alisa Weilerstein / Jiří Bělohlávek

Dvořák

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AllMusic Review by

Following her successful debut on Decca with the cello concertos of Edward Elgar and Elliott Carter, Alisa Weilerstein serves up another touchstone of her repertoire, Dvorák's Cello Concerto in B minor. Even though this album offers a handful of pieces for cello and piano, which Weilerstein and pianist Anna Polonsky play with charm and sentiment, listeners will pay the most attention to the concerto, which is the program's raison d'être. Weilerstein's highly personal and intensely Romantic style of playing is well-suited to this concerto, which is big on emotion and poignant lyricism, and her long lines and rapt expression effectively carry the piece. The accompaniment by Jirí Belohlávek and the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra is vibrant and full of color and presence, though at no point is Weilerstein overwhelmed by the ensemble, thanks to the central microphone placement that is closely directed at the cello. Of course, such tight recording tends to expose the roughness of her multiple stops, and her entrance in the first movement is a bit startling. All the same, her rich timbres and passionate singing tone more than make up for any scratchiness one may encounter.

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