Wendy Warner

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

The US cellist picks her favourite recordings

The Dvořák concerto encapsulates so much of Rostropovich's personality – when I play it I try to capture his boldness of spirit

Shostakovich Piano Concerto no.2 in F major op.102
Cristina Ortiz, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Vladimir Ashkenazy
I first heard this on a Sunday morning in 1989, when I was driving through the Vermont mountains. The setting and the music together had an overwhelming effect on me – it’s ultra-romantic music, very pure, and I can hear elements of my own personality within it. The second, slow movement is particularly uplifting.

Schumann Dichterliebe
Fritz Wunderlich (tenor), Hubert Giesen (piano)
In my early twenties I started listening more to vocal music, and this recording was recommended to me. I sing a great deal myself and when I play the cello I feel as though it’s an extension of my inner voice. Again, there’s a pure quality in the music that I’m attracted to, and also in the German tenor Fritz Wunderlich’s voice. I like the sense of freedom that’s expressed in the music.

Brahms Ein Deutsches Requiem
Soloists, Berlin Philharmonic/Claudio Abbado
I was able to attend all the recording sessions for this DVD, as I’d just auditioned for a different project with Abbado. I didn’t know the piece at all, but afterwards I studied the score and learnt every single word! Brahms said he could have called it ‘a human requiem’ and one of my strongest musical memories is of performing it at a church in New York, shortly after 9/11.

Dvořák Cello Concerto in B minor op.104
Mstislav Rostropovich, London Philharmonic Orchestra/Carlo Maria Giulini
I was twelve when I learnt this concerto and later I had a few lessons with Rostropovich in which we went through it together. He was very nostalgic when he talked about it with me: the second theme of the first movement almost moved him to tears. The concerto encapsulates so much of his own personality – when I play it I try to capture his boldness of spirit.

A Swinging Affair
Stéphane Grappelli (violin), Django Reinhardt (guitar)
I could choose any album by jazz violinist Stéphane Grappelli, whom I met in Paris in 1994. It was an amazing encounter backstage – Grappelli was so charming the whole time. I regard him as the Paganini of that genre.

Wendy Warner performs the Dvořák Cello Concerto on 9 May with the Xiamen Philharmonic Orchestra in Xiamen, China

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