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Elgar: Cello Concerto - Schnittke, A.: Viola Concerto

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Customer Reviews

Blown Away

One of the best recordings I have ever heard. Listening to the Elgar Cello Concerto played on Viola, I could not help but compare the intensity to that of Jacqueline Du Pre. I own two recordings of the Schnittke Viola Concerto performed by Yuri Bashmet, and in my opinion, I believe this performance to be the definitive interpretation. I never believed a violist could have a level of technique surpassing the great violinists and cellists of our time. Six Stars- a must have for all violists and musicians.

A Star is Born

Blazing a world-class career on the heels of such luminaries as Yuri Bashmet and Roberto Diaz, violist David Aaron Carpenter makes a shining debut on his first CD featuring a transcription of the Edward Elgar Cello Concerto, and the Alfred Schnittke Viola Concerto, both recorded with the Philharmonia Orchestra, conducted by Christoph Eschenbach. In his own note for the CD, Mr. Carpenter writes of how several Classical and Romantic composers were passionate fans of the viola, yet wrote few works specifically for its darker charms. His theory is the historical shortage of famous viola virtuosos who were capable of generating widespread fame with concertos on the same level as violin, cello, and piano. Mr. Carpenter, at 23, is a fresh protégé rising to the challenge of placing viola in a brighter solo spotlight. If his debut recording is any indication, he should achieve much success.

In order to draw listeners to the viola’s special capabilities, Mr. Carpenter issues the Elgar with his own stamp, personally transcribing the solo part based on Lionel Tertis’ famous, composer-approved version as a template. Mr. Carpenter closely aligns his version to the original cello solo part, yet gives it colorful characteristics that are distinctively violistic. Throughout the Elgar’s treasury of thrilling moments, as well as the chilling and difficult Schnittke concerto, Mr. Carpenter plays with star-making technique that is where it should be: ever present yet transparent. Rapid passages tickle the ear with precision. Slower sections arch with incredible phrasing. Changes of dynamics, harmonics, and other extended techniques reveal the richness and excitement to be found in both scores. Most impressively, from the heart-wrenching opening of the Elgar, through the final emotional strains of the Schnittke, Mr. Carpenter consistently produces captivating tone. His approach to the challenging Schnittke awakens curiosity, forcing the listener to wonder what is coming next, a rare feat in modern repertoire that only comes from the most virtuosic hands. Mr. Eschenbach’s accompaniment is equally impressive, allowing the viola to project through the orchestra as clear as a bell, even in bolder moments where the viola could be easily lost. This impressive first CD deserves recognition, and should advance Mr. Carpenter on his fast trajectory toward worldwide stardom.

Passionate, Beautiful and Dramatic

I must admit that I have been like most of the rest of you and relegated the Viola to lame duck jokes and relegated it to the shadows of its smaller sister the violin. However, Daved Aaron Carpenter has awakened new light to my ears. He is a virtuoso on the instrument. He brings lush vocal like presence to the tone and you can hear all of the emotion that Elgar and Schnitke must have felt when they wrote the pices performed here. This is a beautiful recording that I know I will be listening to many times over. I highly recommend you take a listen.


Genre: Classical

Christoph Eschenbach overcame the most difficult of circumstances to become one of the finest pianists and conductors of the late 20th century. He was orphaned at a young age: his mother died in childbirth and his father, musicologist Heribert Ringmann, was killed in battle during World War II. His adoptive grandmother was then killed while trying to extract him and herself from the path of the Allied armies. Fortunately for the young boy, his mother's cousin, Wallydore Eschenbach, tracked him down...
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