In the year celebrating the 30th anniversary of his winning the Gold Medal at the Tchaikovsky Competition, cellist Antonio Meneses offers a release with two firsts: the world-premiere recording of Hans Gál’s Cello Concerto, and his first recording of the Elgar Cello Concerto.
This year Antonio Meneses celebrates the 30th anniversary of winning the Gold Medal at the Tchaikovsky Competition, which launched the cellist’s brilliant international career and a string of acclaimed recordings including a half dozen for Avie. His latest for the label includes a couple of firsts: the world-premiere recording of the Cello Concerto by Hans Gál, and Antonio’s first recording of the Elgar Concerto. Bringing the Gál Concerto to light reveals the two works’ commonality. With beautiful, broad orchestral brushstrokes, neither is a dazzling virtuoso showpiece, rather both are lyrical, contemplative, elegiac. Both were written in the UK, Elgar’s in the Sussex countryside where he retired, Gál’s in Edinburgh where he 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 his lyrical compositional style which was usurped by post-war modernism. Today his music is being rediscovered and appreciated anew. The Elgar regained popularity in the 1960s, the decade when the Gál was last performed. As Antonio 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's a really beautiful concerto!"
Hans Gal : Cello Concerto Op.67 I. Allegro Moderato
Hans Gal : Cello Concerto Op.67 II. Andante
Hans Gal : Cello Concerto Op.67 III. Allegretto Vivace E Con Spirito
Edward Elgar : Cello Concerto In E Minor Op.85 I. Adagio - Moderato - Lento
Edward Elgar : Cello Concerto In E Minor Op.85 II. Allegro Molto
Edward Elgar : Cello Concerto In E Minor Op.85 III. Adagio -
Edward Elgar : Cello Concerto In E Minor Op.85 IV. Allegro - Moderato - Allegro, Ma Non Troppo - Poco Piu Lento - Adagio
“Gloriously impassioned first outing on disc for Hans Gal's Concerto”
“Meneses surmounts every hurdle with ease and he is backed to the hilt by his compatriot Claudio Cruz at the helm of a notably alert Northern Sinfonia...a hugely sympathetic and impressively stylish display. Boasting crystal-clear yet warm-toned sound, this enterprising issue can be welcomed with open arms.”
“In spite of all the competition there, Meneses' account of Elgar bears up well. From the opening bars he makes it clear that this is going to be a thoughtful, musicianly interpretation. It avoids surrendering to any temptation towards melodrama or showmanship...Meneses hopes others will take up [the Gál's] cause; with this as reference recording, they can hardly go wrong.”
14th July 2012
“A fascinating rediscovery...there’s melancholy in this gorgeously counterpointed work, but much stronger is the sense of an expert craftsman shaping one last outpouring of Brahms’s symphonic language. It makes Elgar’s elegiac Cello Concerto sound extrovert by comparison.”
Click on any of the works listed above for alternative recordings.