Tchaikovsky: Variations on a Rococo Theme, Op. 33

This page lists all recordings of Variations on a Rococo Theme, Op. 33, by Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-93) on CD, SACD, DVD & download (MP3 & FLAC). Generally, more recent releases are listed first, but with priority given to those that are in stock.

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Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto and Rococo Variations

Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto and Rococo Variations


Tchaikovsky:

Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 35

Variations on a Rococo Theme, Op. 33


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Saint-Saens, Schumann & Tchaikovsky: Works for Cello & Orchestra

Saint-Saens, Schumann & Tchaikovsky: Works for Cello & Orchestra


Saint-Saëns:

Cello Concerto No. 1 in A minor, Op. 33

Schumann:

Cello Concerto in A minor, Op. 129

Tchaikovsky:

Variations on a Rococo Theme, Op. 33


Antonio Meneses celebrates the 35th anniversary of winning First Prize and the Gold Medal at the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, as well as his 60th birthday in August 2017, with his first recordings of three cornerstones of the cello concertante repertoire: Schumann's Cello Concerto in A minor, Saint-Saëns' Cello Concerto No. 1, and Tchaikovsky's Variations on a Rococo Theme.

Meneses adds to his distinguished discography with three works with orchestra he has not previously recorded: Schumann's Cello Concerto in A minor, Saint-Saëns' Cello Concerto No. 1, and Tchaikovsky's Variations on a Rococo Theme. Early, seminal recordings with Herbert von Karajan led to further, phenomenal success and recognition of Antonio's beguiling combination of virtuoso élan and thoughtful introspection. His tenth recording for AVIE, these first concertante recordings form a vital part of his series for the label that includes several cornerstones of the cello repertoire, including Bach's Six Cello Suites, the complete cello music by Beethoven (with pianist Menahem Pressler), the two Haydn concertos, and the Grammy-nominated pairing of concertos by Hans Gál and Edward Elgar for which he was joined by Claudio Cruz and the Royal Northern Sinfonia, as he is on this new release.

Personnel: Antonio Meneses (cello), Royal Northern Sinfonia, Claudio Cruz (conductor)

Critical Acclaim:

"His many facets as a musician have been emblazoned across his commanding recording of the Bach Suites and the poetic phrasing in his Haydn...he manages to maintain a thoughtful elegance and unfussy control that brings out the innate beauty of the music at the same time as displaying the multifarious elements of his own artistry." - Gramophone

"Antonio Meneses is truly the bel canto hero of the cello world: no matter how virtuosic or gnarly the music, he sings it with a sonorous beauty of tone and uncompromised resonance only achieved by a chosen few." - BBC Music Magazine

“Antonio Meneses delivers technically immaculate and warmly expressive playing throughout these three well-established 19th-century repertoire works…beautifully recorded and very fine performances [benefitting] enormously from the excellent playing of the Royal Northern Sinfonia” BBC Music Magazine, October 2017 ****

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Elgar & Tchaikovsky: Cello Works

Elgar & Tchaikovsky: Cello Works


Elgar:

Cello Concerto in E minor, Op. 85

Tchaikovsky:

Variations on a Rococo Theme, Op. 33


The profoundly moving, elegiac lyricism of Elgar and the wistful charm and brilliance of Tchaikovsky are on full display in this irresistible new release from PENTATONE played with consummate virtuosity by the German-Canadian cellist Johannes Moser with the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande under Andrew Manze.

Composed at the end of the First World War, Elgar’s powerful Cello Concerto in E minor is one of his best-loved and most deeply-felt works. The soloist’s wrenching chords which open the work announce a mood of profound resignation and loss; gone is the youthful swagger of his earlier works, replaced instead with lonely introspection and longing, especially in the sublimely beautiful Adagio. The cello is given free rein in the vigorous final movement but the opening mood prevails as an anguished outburst from the cello brings the work to a close.

No such dejection hangs over Tchaikovsky’s delightful Variations on a Rococo Theme which ooze elegance, ineffable charm and daring displays of technical brilliance. While the Pezzo capriccioso finds Tchaikovsky in a more restrained mood, with the Nocturne and Andante Cantabile he wears his romantic heart full on his sleeve.

The cellist Johannes Moser is no stranger to these works. Winner of the top prize at the 2002 Tchaikovsky Competition, he was also awarded the Special Prize for his interpretation of the Variations on a Rococo Theme.

Described by Gramophone as “one of the finest among the astonishing gallery of young virtuoso cellists” and by the LA Times as a musician who “…connects with the audience in a way that only great artists do”, this is Moser’s third outing for PENTATONE.

His first album of concertos by Dvořák and Lalo was widely praised for his “performance of enormous flair and effervescence” (BBC Music Magazine) and “his dazzling virtuosity, free, passionate phrasing and immense energy … that recalls Pablo Casals’ iconic 1937 recording” (Strings)

“Moser plays the composer’s original version [of the Variations], and sets off at a brisk trot – rococo is not going to be a byword for prissy. But the lightness is balanced by a gently yearning lyricism, and he shapes the minor-key variation into one long, seamless line...throughout, Andrew Manze and the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande are supportive at every turn.” The Guardian, 23rd March 2017 ***

“The first minutes command immediate attention, Johannes Moser's handling of the opening chords confident and tonally full-bodied, the ascending solo scales that lead to the principal melody haltingly tiered, the melody itself tenderness personified, slowing subtly before the strings take the lead and Moser rises boldly to the crest of the phrase. The full orchestra's response is both heroic and uplifting. [Rococo Variations] Again Moser offers a performance that conbines sensitivity, agility and brilliance, while Manze and the Suisse Romande Orchestra are consistently on the ball.” Gramophone Magazine, May 2017

“Moser offers an interpretation of the splendid Elgar Cello Concerto that is dense and very personal, almost severe. His playing is more eloquent than elegiac, with a warm sonority. Above all, his mastery of articulation and of nuances has the ability to capture the attention of the most distracted of listeners.” Diapason, April 2017 *****

“Moser is an unfailingly elegant soloist…the Tchaikovsky Variations have a suitably Rococo grace and spirit” BBC Music Magazine, May 2017 ***

“He takes an emotional, nostalgic view of the Elgar — broadly phrased, with light relief in his scurrying account of the “scherzo”. The Tchaikovsky Variations are elegant Mozart pastiche, dashed off with scintillating virtuosity. Manze elicits superb playing from Geneva’s orchestra.” Sunday Times, 16th July 2017

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - May 2017

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The Chungs play Tchaikovsky & Beethoven

The Chungs play Tchaikovsky & Beethoven


Beethoven:

Triple Concerto for Piano, Violin, and Cello in C major, Op. 56

Kyung-Wha Chung (violin), Myung-Wha Chung (cello) & Myung-Whun Chung (piano & conductor)

Philharmonia Orchestra

Tchaikovsky:

Piano Concerto No. 1 in B flat minor, Op. 23

Myung-Whun Chung (piano)

Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, Charles Dutoit

Variations on a Rococo Theme, Op. 33

Myung-Wha Chung (cello)

Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, Charles Dutoit

Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 35

Myung-Wha Chung (cello)

Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, Charles Dutoit


Most parents will assert that siblings do not always play well together, but classical music gives many examples to the contrary. Although violinist Yehudi Menuhin was the most famous member of his family, he performed and made several recordings with his sisters, Hephzibah and Yaltah, both pianists. (Pianist Marcel Ciampi, who taught both sisters, remarked that their mother’s womb ‘was a veritable conservatory’.)

This 2CD set brings together the Tchaikovsky recordings made individually by the three members of the Chung Trio – all, of course, outstanding musicians in their own right. All are partnered by Charles Dutoit, and the recordings of the Piano Concerto and the Rococo Variations appear internationally on CD for the first time. Myung-Whun Chung is featured in the dual roles of conductor and pianist in the recording of Beethoven’s ‘Triple’ Concerto.

“exuberant […] Chung adds even more fizz to the Tchaikovsky than she did on her glowing version with Prevn right at the beginning of her career” Gramophone Magazine, December 1983 (Violin Concerto)

“in a consistently refreshing and poetic reading of a warhorse concerto [Myung-Whun Chung] shows that his keyboard technique is as formidable as when he was a prizewinner in the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow. […] The power of the playing is never in doubt […] the central prestissimo [in the second movement] has rarely been recorded with a more genuine pianissimo. The finale sparkles’ (Piano Concerto) […] an exquisitely beautiful account of the loveliest variation of all, the Andante sotenuto” Gramophone Magazine, March 1981 (Rococo Variations)

“The Chungs make a characterful trio and give a very fine account of the Triple Concerto which conveys a feeling of spontaneous chamber-playing, with the finale taken thrillingly fast, with sparkling results” Penguin Guide, 2005

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Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 5 & Rococo Variations

Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 5 & Rococo Variations


Tchaikovsky:

Symphony No. 5 in E minor, Op. 64

Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Claudio Abbado

Variations on a Rococo Theme, Op. 33

Yo-Yo Ma (cello)

Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Lorin Maazel


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Tchaikovsky: Manfred Symphony and other works

Tchaikovsky: Manfred Symphony and other works


Tchaikovsky:

Manfred Symphony, Op. 58

Hamlet - Fantasy overture, Op. 67

Romeo & Juliet - Fantasy Overture

Francesca da Rimini, Op. 32

Variations on a Rococo Theme, Op. 33

Lynn Harrell (cello)

Pezzo capriccioso, Op. 62 for cello & orchestra (or cello & piano)


In addition to recording the six Tchaikovsky symphonies for Decca with the Vienna Philharmonic, Lorin Maazel also recorded the ‘Manfred’ – a recording often singled out as one of the best made of this symphony, as well as three of the tone poems based on literary legends, two Shakespearian (Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet), one Dante (the thrilling Francesca da Rimini). The latter was recorded as part of Decca’s ‘Phase 4’ series. This all-Tchaikovsky 2CD set is completed with two of the composer’s works for cello, the Rococo Variations and the Pezzo capriccioso, both receiving their first international release on CD.

“Thrilling highly-charged accounts of some of Tchaikovsky's darkest music. Harrell's elegant Rococo Variations provides welcome light at the end of the tunnel.” BBC Music Magazine, April 2014 *****

“Tchaikovsky’s Manfred Symphony has had precious few great recordings; luckily this is one of them … The finale has all the excitement, energy and crackerjack rhythmic thrust needed to make it really fly … a red-hot performance of Tchaikovsky’s Hamlet” Classics Today

“Where excitement is concerned, there is no lack at all” Gramophone Magazine

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Shostakovich: Cello Concerto No. 2 & Tchaikovsky: Rococo Variations

Shostakovich: Cello Concerto No. 2 & Tchaikovsky: Rococo Variations


Glazunov:

Chant du Ménestrel, Op. 71

Boston Symphony Orchestra, Seiji Ozawa

Shostakovich:

Cello Concerto No. 2 in G minor, Op. 126

Boston Symphony Orchestra, Seiji Ozawa

Tchaikovsky:

Variations on a Rococo Theme, Op. 33

Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra, Gennadi Rozhdestvensky

Andante Cantabile (from String Quartet No. 1 in D Op. 11)

Berliner Philharmoniker


Each of the works on this disc is associated with a notable cellist who made a career in Russia: the Rococo Variations with the German player Wilhelm Fitzenhagen (1843–90), the Andante cantabile with Anatoly Brandukov (1859–1930), the Chant du Ménestrel with the Polish player Alexander Wierzbilowicz (1849–1911) and the Shostakovich Concerto with Mstislav Rostropovich (1927–2007) – whose genius as an interpreter knits the whole program together. The main wok on this recording is Shostakovich’s Second Concerto – a work on which Rostropovich and the composer collaborated. While the cellist’s recording with Herbert von Karajan is vastly popular, this CD includes Rostropovich’s preferred recording of the work, taped in 1960 with Gennadi Rozhdestvensky. For this alone, this CD is well worth the purchase. Tully Potter provides the insightful liner notes.

“Dark beauty, nobility, depth of feeling: these are the major qualities in Rostropovich's Shostakovich and Tchaikovsky. Recorded sound is decent.” BBC Music Magazine, February 2014 ****

“charismatic accompaniments by the splendid Leningrad Philharmonic under Gennadi Rozhdestvensky. Rostropovich is nothing if not a larger-than-life cellist … The sound is excellent” Gramophone Magazine, March 1988

“Rostropovich plays with beautifully controlled feeling … Ozawa provides a most sympathetic and well-disciplined accompaniment and draws finely expressive playing from all departments of the orchestra. […] Glazunov’s Chant du Ménestrel … will give unalloyed pleasure. The recording is excellently balanced, both in terms of the overall perspective as well as the relationship between the various elements of the orchestra … most is made of the spacious and warm acoustic. This, then, is a most truthful recording of a most distinguished performance” Gramophone Magazine, November 1976 (Shostakovich, Glazunov)

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Gautier Capuçon plays Tchaikovsky & Prokofiev

Gautier Capuçon plays Tchaikovsky & Prokofiev


Prokofiev:

Sinfonia Concertante in E minor for cello & orchestra, Op. 125

Tchaikovsky:

Variations on a Rococo Theme, Op. 33


‘Gautier Capuçon plays the cello with the control and wisdom of a much older musician. The lightness of his touch and the consistent clarity of his bow strokes are quite admirable in themselves, but when combined with an uncanny sweetness of tone in the higher registers they are breathtaking.’ Gramophone

A Frenchman in St Petersburg … Gautier Capuçon joins Valery Gergiev (making his Virgin Classics debut) and the Mariinsky Orchestra for works by Tchaikovsky and Prokofiev

These live performances were recorded in St Petersburg on 24th December 2008 when Gautier Capuçon was the guest of Russia’s leading maestro – and one of the world’s most prominent conductors – the protean Valery Gergiev and his Mariinsky Orchestra. This is Gergiev’s debut on Virgin Classics; Capuçon, of course, is one of the mainstays of the label and this is his third album of solo works with orchestra.

His recording of the Dvorák and Victor Herbert concertos was released in early 2009. The Sunday Telegraph reported that: “This is not the first coupling of these works, but it is perhaps the most distinguished. The works have much in common and Gautier Capuçon makes the most of the music's melodic appeal. The Dvorák receives a powerful and intense interpretation with some superb orchestral solos to match the soloist's eloquence,” while The Guardian found that, in the Herbert, Capuçon “captures the work's rhapsodic ambitions and the lyrical charm of its slow movement perfectly … this version just about has it all.”

Gautier joined his brother, violinist Renaud for a recording of the Brahms Double Concerto, released in 2007. “There's something totally compelling about this performance of the Double Concerto from the first few bars,” wrote The Guardian, “when Gautier Capuçon launches into the opening cello solo with a rhapsodic freedom and expressive abandon that seems to sweep all before it, gathering first his brother Renaud's violin playing and then the Gustav Mahler Jugend Orchestra and conductor Myung-Whun Chung into the same unstoppable flood of lyricism.”

Tchaikovsky’s Mozart-inspired Rococo Variations are a mainstay of the cello repertoire, but Prokofiev's Sinfonia Concertante features less frequently in concerts and recordings. The work was premiered in 1952 by Mstislav Rostropovich, with the equally legendary pianist Sviatoslav Richter deserting the keyboard for the conductor’s baton. Its material is drawn from the composer’s earlier cello concerto, written in the 1930s.

“Gautier Capuçon and Valery Gergiev take both works very darkly and seriously. This furrowed-browed approach makes their Symphony-Concerto- …unlike any other. No one manages the first movement's withdrawal into dreams more magically than Gergiev with hushed Mariinsky strings, and Capuçon quickly follows pensive suit.” BBC Music Magazine, February 2010 ****

“Capuçon and Gergiev cleave through histrionic superficiality to produce a reading that bites but never barks.” Michael Quinn, bbc.co.uk, 16th February 2010

“Even in this crowded field Gautier Capuçon stands out as exceptional, majoring in elegant, pure, singing tone and long lyrical phrasing rather than waspish attack...there are grand and glorious things here” Gramophone Magazine, April 2010

“Gautier Capuçon’s French sensibility is ideally suited to Tchaikovsky’s nostalgic backward glance to the era of his favourite composer, Mozart. He also digs deep into Prokofiev’s mid-20th-century angst” Sunday Times, 13th December 2009 ****

“...you can't help but be seduced by the passion and irony of [Capucon's] playing. Gergiev and the Mariinsky Orchestra bring terrific drama and fire to it as well.” The Guardian, 11th February 2010 ****

“The Mozart-inspired Tchaikovsky piece is dispatched with a light touch, Capuçon's bow dancing over the strings but retaining a sureness of tone.” The Independent, 1st January 2010 **

“Capuçon [plays] with a blend of impeccable taste, Romantic ardour and technical aplomb...Whether quizzical, rapturous, pensive or demonstrative, Capuçon has full measure of [the music] here in a performance of impressive stature.” The Telegraph, 29th January 2010 *****

“Mellifluous tones pour from Gautier Capuçon’s cello, even when he’s partnered by conductor Valery Gergiev, usually a firebrand.” The Times, 16th January 2010 ***

Erato - 6944860

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Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 6

Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 6


Tchaikovsky:

Swan Lake, Op. 20 (excerpts)

Symphony No. 6 in B minor, Op. 74 'Pathétique'

Variations on a Rococo Theme, Op. 33

Maurice Gendron (cello)


The three 2-CD Tchaikovsky/Ansermet sets The Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker and Swan Lake represent his complete Tchaikovsky recordings for Decca. For many, Ansermet's recording of The Nutcracker is in a league of its own, and many will find fascinating his own sequencing of numbers from Swan Lake and The Sleeping Beauty. Refined, yet passionate, many of the pieces on these recordings make their first international appearance on CD.

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Russian Masterpieces for Cello and Orchestra

Russian Masterpieces for Cello and Orchestra


Shostakovich:

Cello Concerto No. 1 in E flat major, Op. 107

Tchaikovsky:

Variations on a Rococo Theme, Op. 33

Pezzo capriccioso, Op. 62 for cello & orchestra (or cello & piano)

Nocturne for cello & small orchestra (or cello & piano), Op. 19 No. 4


Zuill Bailey, the dynamic and exhilarating American cellist, makes his Telarc debut with the release of Russian Masterpieces for Cello. The recording includes Tchaikovsky’s Variations on a Rococo Theme Pezzo Capriccioso and Nocturne in D Minor Op. 19 No. 4, and Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto No. 1 in E-Flat Major, Op. 107. Zuill Bailey’s rare combination of compelling artistry, technical finesse and engaging personality have secured his place as one of the most sought-after cellists today. Bailey performs regularly with long-time duo partner, pianist Awadagin Pratt, as well as with pianist Simone Dinnerstein. He is also a member of the acclaimed Perlman-Schmidt-Bailey Trio, which also includes pianist Navah Perlman and violinist Giora Schmidt.

The voice of the cello is uniquely suited to the qualities of passion and melancholy that makes Russian music so provocative to listeners. Tchaikovsky’s Rococo Variations was written for the German-born cellist Wilhelm Fitzenhagen, a professor at the Moscow Conservatory. When Tchaikovsky left Russia for a lengthy stay in Western Europe, he gave Fitzenhagen a free hand in composition, which resulted in significant structural alterations to the piece. The cellist premiered his version of the Rococo Variations at a Moscow concert conducted by Nikolai Rubinstein in 1877. Tchaikovsky was displeased with the alterations, but later said, “The devil take it. Let it stay as it is.” The Fitzenhagen score is heard in Bailey’s rendition, and is considered an effective presentation of Tchaikovsky’s material.

Shostakovich wrote his first cello concerto in 1959 for the distinguished cellist Mstislav Rostropovich, who had frequently performed Shostakovich’s Sonata for Cello and Piano with the composer at the piano. It was premiered in Leningrad with the Leningrad Philharmonic and Rostropovich. When Shostakovich gave his only public performance as a conductor in 1962, the Concerto appeared on the programme.

“Overall the programme balances nicely enough as a calling-card for the stylish… soloist. …Zuill Bailey plays with impressive technical mastery… He is unfazed by the taxing double-stopping Shostakovich frequently employs in the faster passages while finding commendable depth and solemnity in the slow movement.” Gramophone Magazine, March 2009

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