Charming cello on show



Complete Concerto and Sonata Recordings

Sony Classical 88985490172 (14 CDs)

5 stars

Besides being the teacher of renowned cellists Yo-Yo Ma and Lynn Harrell, American cellist Leonard Rose (1918-1984) is also remembered for his trio with violinist Isaac Stern and pianist Eugene Istomin.

These reissued recordings, originally issued on the Columbia Masterworks label date from 1945 to 1974, demonstrate the breadth, depth and wide-ranging scope of his artistry.

There are two recordings of Ernest Bloch's Hebraic rhapsody Schelomo (inspired by the life and passion of King Solomon). Recorded in 1951 (Dimitri Mitropoulos conducting) and 1961 (with Eugene Ormandy), his deep, voluminous singing tone may be best appreciated here.

Also duplicated is the popular tandem of Brahms' Double Concerto (1954 and 1964) and Beethoven's Triple Concerto (1949 and 1964), both with different partners and conductors.

Away from concertos, there are excellent accounts of cello sonatas by Schubert, Franck, Brahms, Grieg, Boccherini and Sammartini - all with pianist Leonid Hambro.

Previously unreleased and heard for the first time are two Beethoven sonatas (Op.69 and Op.102 No.2).

The latest recording is also the strangest: J.S. Bach's three Viola da gamba Sonatas, partnered by eccentric Canadian pianist Glenn Gould, who constantly tries to upstage him.

Many of the 1960s recordings enjoy highly realistic sound, as if just recorded yesterday.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 28, 2019, with the headline 'Charming cello on show'. Print Edition | Subscribe