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Album review: Steven Isserlis, Dvorak cello concertos (Hyperion)


Isserlis, who has resisted for 40 years recording this much-loved piece from the heart of the cellist’s repertoire, breaks his duck, and even adds an earlier Dvorak concerto, orchestrated by Gunter Raphael.

While the youthful A-major exploration of the genre is roundly upstaged by its better-known companion, it makes for a fascinating coupling. Dvorak said the musical roar of Niagara Falls helped inspire the B-minor concerto, but it also contains the sorrowful curves of his own song Lasst Mich Allein, which is also performed here in arrangement for orchestra. The death of his sister-in-law prompted the rewriting of the last movement of the later concerto, played, as is the whole, with a passion that is thrillingly balletic.