One of the most grown-up review sites around

51,000 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

  Founder: Len Mullenger             Senior Editor: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider


colourful imaginative harmony
Renate Eggebrecht violin

Leticia Gómez-Tagle
Chopin, Liszt, Scarlatti

Guillaume LEKEU

Book 1 Book 2 Book3
Mota The Triptych: -Website

Acte Prealable returns
with New Releases

Superior performance

Shostakovich 6&7 Nelsons

Verdi Requiem Thielemann

Marianna Henriksson
An outstanding recital

Arnold Bax
Be converted

this terrific disc

John Buckley
one of my major discoveries

François-Xavier Roth
A game-changing Mahler 3


Bryden Thomson


Vaughan Williams Concertos

RVW Orchestral


Support us financially by purchasing this from

Paul HINDEMITH (1895-1963)
Cello Concerto (1940) [23:50]
Sergei PROKOFIEV (1891-1953)
Sinfonia Concertante for cello and orchestra Op. 125 (1950-51) [36:16]
Einojuhani RAUTAVAARA (b. 1928)
Cello Concerto No.1, Op.41 (1968) [14:19]
Janos Starker (cello)
Radio-Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart des SWR/Andreas von Lukacsy (Hindemith)
SWR Baden-Baden and Freiburg Symphony Orchestra/Ernest Bour (Prokofiev), Herbert Blomstedt (Rautavaara)
rec. Funkstudio, Stuttgart, 1971 (Hindemith); Hans-Rosbaud Studio, Baden-Baden, 1975
SWR CLASSIC SWR19418CD [74:46]

This is a revisiting of Hänssler Classic CD94.227 so if you have acquired that, then you won’t need this unlike you have particular thing for the digitally remastered SWR tapes. I’ve not heard the Hänssler disc so can’t contrast but I doubt the difference is spectacular enough to warrant jumping ship.

The focus of the three concertos is Janos Starker. Starker greatly admired the Hindemith Concerto, calling it ‘the best cello concerto of the twentieth century’ and his playing of it is best known in the RCA CD of the mid-1990s. This 1971 SWR performance is hardly less impressive and marked by absolute control of focused tonal colour and expressive intent. Andreas von Lukacsy directs the SWR forces with architectural decisiveness. Even John Cage liked this concerto, especially the finale, and one can hear in its off-kilter orchestral march, against which the solo cello calmly treads its own ruminative passage, quite why it must have appealed to him. The concerto was written for Piatigorsky and I reviewed a rare live broadcast survivor in its incarnation on WHRA, conducted by the composer in 1943 – much edgier sound, of course, than the Starker and much older but a stunning performance.

Prokofiev famously reworked his Sinfonia Concertante, Op.125 from his earlier Cello Concerto, Op.58 and for decades it was associated with Rostropovich, who earned the composer’s dedication. Starker plays it with unadorned lyricism and with almost viola-like tonal qualities – simplicity and directness are the watchwords and the brilliantly articulated finale shows his resources unruffled by technical demands. Bour directs admirably here.

The compact 1968 concerto of Einojuhani Rautavaara was taped in 1975 with Herbert Blomstedt conducting. The Tranquillo section of the first movement generates a memorable lyric charge that’s expanded in the tranquil Largo and there’s a Martinů-like cadence (presumably unintended) in the brisk finale.

A direct, unsentimental practitioner, Starker proves an admirable guide to these three concertos. Recorded balances are excellent and the tapes sound in first-class condition. Documentation is good too and there’s a fine colour photograph of the cellist characteristically unruffled and with waistcoat unbuttoned, on the front.

Jonathan Woolf


We are currently offering in excess of 51,000 reviews

Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger