Elgar & Carter: Cello Concertos
Alisa Weilerstein, Staatskapelle Berlin & Daniel Barenboim
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Elgar Brilliant, Weilerstein Brilliant, Carter….
The cello is a difficult instrument. In the hands of a superb musician - a du Pre, for example - it sings with a range of tones and pitches and harmonies that few other instruments can touch. In less gifted hands it can be leaden and dull. Fortunately Alisa Weilerstein is firmly in the first camp. The result is performance of Elgar's concerto that is up there with the best. It is playful where it needs to be and soaringly sonorous when Elgar and Barenboim call for it. I love it and would give five stars and more for the Elgar. Then there's the Carter. Weilerstein's playing saves the solo passages but not even Barenboim can rescue Carter's orchestration. As orchestral music drags itself out of the abyss of atonalism works such as this, with its percussion that sounds like random bits of metal thumped together in a junkyard and short musical phrases from other instruments flung together in a way that sounds exactly like every other second-rate atonalist, are a reminder of how badly "serious music" lost its way in the 20th Century. Rant over. Get this album for Alisa Weilerstein's cello playing - it's a genuine delight.