The Strad Issue: January 2011
Description: Mixed results in a collection of Dvorák’s complete works for cello and orchestra
Musicians: Tomáš Jamník (cello) Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra/Tomáš Netopil
Composer: Dvorák

Although this warmly recorded double CD set featuring all of Dvo?ák’s works for cello and orchestra seems an attractive proposition, it’s difficult to make a strong case for hearing the the early A major Concerto except on a very occasional basis. The major problem lies in its considerable length and the preponderance of indifferent thematic material, factors that Dvo?ák would surely have rectified had the manuscript not been taken abroad by one of his friends. Still, Tomáš Jamník provides an eloquent reading of this early work. Some of the passagework perhaps could have been more sharply defined, with greater shape given to certain phrases. But such issues are far less evident in the Rondo, which receives a fresh and elegant rendition characterised by a sweet, idiomatic timbre.

Tomáš Netopil and the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra produce a keenly incisive accompaniment in the B minor Concerto, not least in the introduction, where the textures have a clear simplicity that reflects the Bohemian rustic influence. Jamník’s technical delivery is equally impressive, with many exquisitely sensitive moments, the return of Josefina’s theme in the closing bars being particularly evocative. The opening double-stops would benefit from more direction, and some exaggerated tempo fluctuations hinder the sense of impetus. However, Jamník’s lyrical style is  well suited to the Adagio, where the glorious melodies are beautifully conveyed in a chamber-like duo with the oboe. On the other hand, the Molto appassionata middle section is more laboured, and again there are a few tempo changes in the finale that are not entirely convincing.

Joanne Talbot