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Britten: Cello Symphony; Cello Suite No. 1 / Pieter Wispelwey

Album Summary

>Britten, Benjamin : Simple Symphony for Strings, Op. 4
>Britten, Benjamin : Suite for solo cello no 1, Op. 72
Performer Conductor Ensemble
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Notes & Reviews:

Acclaimed Dutch cellist Pieter Wispelwey presents a disc of works written for and dedicated to the great Mstislav Rostropovich. The Cello Symphony marked Benjamin Britten's return to symphonic writing after a period dominated by the composition of operas and vocal music. The work's title refers to the democratic sharing of musical material between cello and orchestra. It is the largest concert work from Britten's later years, and provides ample evidence of the composer's mature mastery of structure and symphonic thinking. The Cello Suites were the fi rst solo instrumental music that Britten wrote for Rostropovich. Inspired by hearing Slava play Bach, Britten originally planned to write six suites, but only three were completed before the composer's death. Britten's fi rst suite was composed at the end of 1964 and is comprised of nine movements, played without pause.

"Onyx producer Matthew Cosgrove gets it dead right in this captivating performance by Pieter Wispelwey...The conversation is just as Britten intended, with profundity, hesitancies and ultimate solitude. The cello suite is even more persuasive."-La Scena Musicale

The Guardian
Pieter Wispelwey's notes to his recording suggest he has a sense of mission about performing [the Cello Symphony], and both he and...Seikyo Kim certainly go about their task with great commitment...Wispelwey is equally committed and accomplished in the first of Britten's three cello suites.

Sunday Times
The sensibility is relentlessly astringent, the writing shot through with a dark, Dowlandish melancholy, even though the textures are transparent and even expressionistically vibrant...The balance between soloist and orchestra seems on a continuous knife edge, but Wispelwey and the conductor, Seikyo Kim, maintain a fierce control. It's a captivating account.

The Independent
Peter Wispelwey's refined tone makes a virtue of the work's uncertainties, negotiating its vacillations between introspection and display. The Flanders Symphony Orchestra and Seikyo Kim provide intelligent support.

The Observer
Pieter Wispelwey's intelligent, penetrating musicianship and lyrical commitment will surely give [the Cello Symphony] a new lease of life, especially with the precise, sharp support of the Flanders Symphony Orchestraled by Seikyo Kim. Alongside it, the solo suite makes a dramatic story, well told.

BBC Music Magazine
It's thrilling to find a recording that shines a light into [the Cello Symphony's] aqueous depths: here is a reading of wonderful precision, colour and vitality...[Wispelwey] brings an innate understanding of Britten's voice, liberating both its power to shock and to sing with virile energy, finesse and a seemingly elastic bow.

Charlotte Gardner, bbc.co.uk
Wispelwey has risen to the challenge...His tone's capacity for dark malevolence, shown to such effect on his previous disc of Walton's Cello Concerto, is exercised here to the full...[Suite No. 1] is bursting with contemplative beauty, instinctive phrasing, full-toned radiance, and sure technique.

Gramophone Magazine
Wispelwey's] appreciation for Britten's idiom is impressive and both these performances...are deeply considered...The performance of the Cello Symphony is pensive, brooding, cast in sombre colours...As one might expect, the Cello Suite No. 1 is played with similar maturity.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: De Singel, Antwerp, Belgium & Doopsgezinde Kerk, Devent (11/29/2009/01/21/2010).


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Works Details

>Britten, Benjamin : Simple Symphony for Strings, Op. 4
  • Performer: Pieter Wispelwey (Cello)
  • Conductor: Seikyo Kim
  • Notes: Doopsgezinde Kerk, Deventer, Netherlands (01/21/2010); De Singel, Antwerp, Belgium (01/21/2010); Doopsgezinde Kerk, Deventer, Netherlands (11/29/2009); De Singel, Antwerp, Belgium (11/29/2009)
  • Running Time: 36 min. 11 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Orchestral
  • Written: 1963
  • Studio/Live: Live

>Britten, Benjamin : Suite for solo cello no 1, Op. 72
  • Performer: Pieter Wispelwey (Cello)
  • Notes: Doopsgezinde Kerk, Deventer, Netherlands (01/21/2010); De Singel, Antwerp, Belgium (01/21/2010); Doopsgezinde Kerk, Deventer, Netherlands (11/29/2009); De Singel, Antwerp, Belgium (11/29/2009)
  • Running Time: 25 min. 18 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1964
  • Studio/Live: Live