Elgar: Cello Concerto; Gál: Cello Concerto – Antônio Meneses (cello), Northern Sinfonia, Cláudio Cruz
In 2012, Antônio Meneses celebrates the thirtieth anniversary of his winning the Gold Medal at the Tchaikovsky Competition, which launched his brilliant international concert career and a string of acclaimed recordings, including a half dozen for Avie. His latest for the label offers a couple of firsts: the world premiere recording of the Cello Concerto by Hans Gál, and the first recording by Antônio Meneses of Elgar’s Cello Concerto. Bringing Gál’s Concerto to light reveals the two works’ commonality. With beautiful, broad orchestral brushstrokes, neither is a dazzling virtuoso showpiece; rather, both are lyrical, contemplative, and elegiac. Both were written in the UK, Elgar wrote his in the Sussex countryside to which he had retired, Gál his in Edinburgh where he had settled after escaping Nazi persecution in the 1930s. Elgar wrote his last major work in the aftermath of World War I, by which time his music had gone out of fashion – a circumstance difficult to fathom today. Gál’s Cello Concerto was completed in the years following World War II. Throughout his long career Gál adhered steadfastly to a lyrical compositional style which was widely supplanted by post-war modernism. Today his music is being rediscovered and appreciated anew. Elgar’s Concerto regained popularity in the 1960s, the decade when Gál’s was last performed. As Antônio Meneses says of the latter: ‘This concerto by Gál could be considered one of the greatest discoveries in a long time, at least in the cello repertoire. It is a really beautiful concerto!’
"... This is an absolutely must-have disc, assuredly for the Gál, but also for one of the most beautifulperformances of the Elgar you may ever hear."
Jerry Dubins - Fanfare - November/December 2012
"...Boasting crystal-clear yet warm-toned sound, this enterprising issue can be welcomed with open arms."
Andrew Achenbach - Gramophone magazine - September 2012
"...I would rate this one of the best current versions of Elgar available... Altogether a very strong disc."
Calum MacDonald - International Record Review - July/August 2012
"Gloriously impassioned first outing on disc for Hans Gál’s Concerto, composed in the wake of several wartime family tragedies. It’s couple with majestic Elgar." ****
Julian Haylock - BBC Music magazine - September 2012
"Once again Avie Records gives us something to treasure from the pen of Hans Gál ..."
Colin Anderson - The ClassicalSource.com - June 2012