Alban's Blog

Dvorak Concerto

I know, I am getting incredibly irresponsible with this blog thingy here, but there are many good reasons for it: too many concerts to play and if not that, too much fun with the little one. And if that wasn’t enough, there is the daily stuff to take care of, booking travel, answering e-mails, doing interviews – at least one of the interviews I had to write about the Dvorak Concerto, and I thought, lazy as I am, I just post this here.

The Dvorak Cello Concerto is a blessing and a curse for us cellists; a blessing because not only cellists claim that it is the most beautiful concerto for any instrument. But I also see it as a curse as no other concerto is as strong as “the Dvorak” which I believe is the reason why so few concerti of the vast cello repertoire are getting performed. What makes it so unique? It features the cello at its best, as the melodic, sensual instrument it is, with its beautiful human voice which can whisper, cry, long, but also become angry and scream or threaten. There are also virtuosic elements, fireworks and impressive passages, but I have always been most attracted by its lyrical side. At the same time the orchestra is featured as an equal partner without ever drowning the cello. Dvorak’s orchestra writing is as exquisite as in his best symphonies, but he treats it so delicately that in a good performance the cello is always the protagonist, once in a while challenged by the solo violin, flute, clarinet or oboe. Whenever I play the work I have to think of the Czech grandfather I was never able to meet but whose many piano opera deductions (he was composer and conductor) influenced me deeply in wanting to become a musician myself.

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