British cellist Jamie Walton here offers a program consisting of such conservative works that it might even be called daring. During the rule of the modernist nomenklatura it would hardly have been possible to perform these works, even the Tchaikovsky Variations on a Rococo Theme, Op. 33 (in its original version). That work is among the light-spirited Tchaikovsky pieces that have more to do with the birth of neo-classicism a generation later than is generally supposed. Walton has the lithe quality and the technical confidence needed to make the variations work. They're played reasonably often, but the works by Glazunov and Prokofiev on the program qualify as rarities. The Concerto Ballata, Op. 108, of Glazunov was composed in 1931, by which time it was anachronistic. Glazunov, however, had lost none of his melodic gifts, and both the concerto and the two smaller Glazunov works are absorbing. The real news may be the Concertino for cello and orchestra, Op. 132, of Prokofiev, left unfinished at the composer's death and completed with help from Mstislav Rostropovich. The first two movements sound like nothing so much as...Glazunov, and the finale is a folkish romp that probably did as much within the constraints of pure Stalinist aesthetics as anybody ever did. Conductor Okko Kamu and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra basically stay out of the way of their supremely talented soloist. An intelligent program of delightful, mostly lost, and above all abundantly melodic music.
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AllMusic Review by James Manheim
|Concertino, Op. 132|
|Variations on a Rococo Theme, Op. 33|