Mixed results in a coupling of Shostakovich’s two cello concertos
Shostakovich’s First Cello Concerto has been firmly established in the repertoire for decades as a result of its highly charged yet direct musical language. In this clear but not overtly resonant recording, Enrico Dindo offers compelling playing that is immediately arresting in the delivery of the rhythmically taut opening motif, and often exhilarating in the ensuing quaver passagework of the Allegretto. The folk-like inspiration of the melodic line in the Moderato is delivered with great simplicity, and Dindo is particularly eloquent in the glacial harmonics that follow the movement’s intense climax. A cogent narrative in the cadenza and a brilliantly articulated finale, aided by incisive and well-shaped playing from the Danish National Symphony Orchestra, combine to cap an exceptionally fine reading.
The Second Cello Concerto is a rarer work, its darker language eschewing broader popularity. Interpretatively, it provides a much blanker canvas with sparing use of expression marks leaving much more to the discretion of the soloist. Dindo seems far less convincing in this work, opting for a rather emotionally detached delivery of the morose opening movement, and his brisk tempo for the first Allegretto misses some of the lampooning irony that some other performances find. As with the First Concerto, the score is immaculately delivered, but would have been enhanced by more dramatic shaping and timbral colouring.