Dvořák – Cello Concerto in B minor


Though he wrote a concerto for the instrument early in his career, Dvořák was not particularly fond of the cello. He found it nasal in the high, and mumbling in the low registers. Many had already asked him for it, but almost at the end of his life he gave in: in 1894 he wrote was to be his last concerto. It turned out to be a masterpiece.

Directly upon receiving it, the cellist Hanuš Wihan tried to change it. This is did not sit well with the composer, who accepted a few minor changes, but denied most. He told his publisher that no one, also not his great friend Wihan was to change a single note in it.

Rostropovich recorded the work four times in his career, each with different orchestra’s. I have heard a couple of them. In general, I think Rostropovich is outstanding, but sometimes a bit dated. There is not much adventure in it. Perfect, but beauty is not always in perfection. Here it feels the same.

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