5 de Diapason
It is particularly fortunate to see Franco-German cellist Nicolas Altstaedt on a record label that will finally allow him to nurture his whimsical personality and insatiable curiosity on a long term basis, he who just a few years ago produced one of the most dazzling recordings of the Haydn Concertos for the Genuin label. For this first album on the Channel Classics label he takes us on a journey through the former Soviet bloc with three major figures of the twentieth century: Dmitri Shostakovich, Mieczyslaw Weinberg and Witold Lutoslawski. Do not expect an avalanche of virtuoso gimmicks from this team: it's all about the lyrical and surprisingly playful section of Shostakovich's Concerto No.1, as well as the infinitely secretive and mysterious Weinberg piece, as they were intended. An amazing album, and one which you should grab with both hands.
Though this is not visible on the cover, in addition to Shostakovich's Cello Concerto No.1 and Mieczyslaw Weinberg's piece, the album also features Witold Lutoslawski's Little Suite. The three pieces were written roughly at the same time: 1959 for Shostakovich, 1951 for Lutoslawski, 1948 for Weinberg - who had to wait for Stalin's death to reveal his work, since both he and Shostakovitch were under the dictator's surveillance and their works could have earned them a stay in Siberia, or maybe even a wooden coffin. The two Concertos share some similarities: Rostropovich arranged both, and the two composers' mutual influences are clearly identifiable on many occasions - Weinberg saw Shostakovich as a mentor, but in fact they often influenced each other. This did not prevent the composers of writing immediately recognizable music! By way of a "breathing pause", the LutosÅ‚awski's Petite Suite consists of four delicious miniatures taken from popular tunes of the Rzeszów region in southern Poland. The work was initially considered "light music," but when Lutoslawski appropriates the genre we are immediately seized by this masterpiece. Jean Françaix or Alexandre Tansman might have written something similar. © SM/Qobuz