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Dvořák & Martinů: Cello Concertos - Christian Poltéra/Thomas Dausgaard

Dvořák & Martinů: Cello Concertos - Christian Poltéra/Thomas Dausgaard

BIS  BIS-2157

Stereo/Multichannel Hybrid

Classical - Orchestral


Antonín Dvořák: Concerto in B minor for cello and orchestra, Op. 104
Bohuslav Martinů: Concerto No. 1 for cello and orchestra (Third version, H 196 III)

Christian Poltéra (cello)
Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin
Thomas Dausgaard (conductor)


Since 2007, cellist Christian Poltéra has recorded a number of acclaimed discs for BIS, of less often heard concertos by composers such as Othmar Schoeck, Frank Martin and Samuel Barber, as well as contemporary classics including Henri Dutilleux’s ‘Toute un monde lointain…’. Across the world, reviewers have been bowled over by Poltéra’s effortless technique, but even more so by his communicative skills and beautiful sound, typically using adjectives such as ‘glowing’, ‘lyrical’, ‘ripe’ and ‘singing’. These are of course qualities that will enhance any repertoire, and here, on his latest disc, Poltéra has occasion to apply them to one of the truly great Romantic concertos.

Dvořák once famously expressed the opinion that the cello was unsuitable as a solo instrument, going on to compose what was to become one of the most beautiful, as well as popular, concertos in the repertoire. Although the solo part is demanding, the work is by no means a bravura showpiece. Instead, the orchestra and soloist form an integral whole, something which is admirably brought out in the interaction between Poltéra and the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin under Thomas Dausgaard.

When he composed his First Cello Concerto, in 1930, Dvořák’s compatriot Bohuslav Martinů also wanted to create a work involving dialogue between soloist and orchestra. Inspired by the concerto grosso form of the baroque era, he wrote a first version for cello and chamber orchestra, which he revisited in 1939, expanding it for large orchestra. In 1955 he returned to the concerto once again to create a third and final version, which has become one of his most popular works.

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Comment by William Hecht - April 11, 2016 (1 of 4)

This is an absolutely ravishing performance of the Dvorak, but there are other fine renditions on sacd. What really sets this disc apart is the Martinu concerto. Those who think of him as a somewhat austere, Roussel-like, composer may be very surprised and pleased at this beautiful piece. Lovely playing and recording as well.

Comment by Bruce Zeisel - May 9, 2016 (2 of 4)

Well I just purchased this. I look forward to hearing the Martinu - my first exposure to it was an LP (a Supraphon if I remember correctly) The trumpet solo was outstanding and every subsequent recording I have heard has disappointed in that respect. So I await this with baited breath. BTW the second cello concerto is also something to look forward to hearing. It bears some resemblence in character to the Shostakovich #2 but is, I think more approachable , more tonal.

Also there is a recording on YouTube of the first concerto with a quite young Michaela Fukačová and she played most passionatly. The sound and video are regrettable but the performance is the best I ever heard.

Comment by Bruce Zeisel - May 14, 2016 (3 of 4)

Well, now I have heard Poltera in the Martinu. This is extraordinaryily beautiful nuanced playing! Finally a Martinu Cello Concerto #1 on SACD and it left me smiling on all counts. Quibbles? I would have appreciated less reverberation time. I sure hope that was not artificially induced....but in the light of everything else, it is a quibble.

I justs heard the Martinu #2 on YouTube and I have no idea where I got the idea that it in anyway resembles the Shosty #2. Maybe it is that both concertos spend a lot of time in the upper reaches of the 'cello's range. But Martinu's is rather more "sunny" in nature.

Comment by William Hecht - June 13, 2017 (4 of 4)

Well Bruce, Poltera's pairing of Martinu's #2 and Shosty's #2 is forthcoming, so we'll be able to judge for ourselves, side by side as it were (well it's still "forthcoming" for those of us in the US).