A striking pairing of Rostropovich-inspired concertos

Edgar Moreau: Dutilleux, Weinberg

Edgar Moreau: Dutilleux, Weinberg

The Strad Issue: December 2023

Description: A striking pairing of Rostropovich-inspired concertos

Musicians: Edgar Moreau (cello) WDR Sinfonieorchester/Andris Poga

Works: Dutilleux: Cello Concerto. Weinberg: Cello Concerto

Catalogue number: ERATO 5419748933

Weinberg’s ascendant star has taken a while to gain widespread recognition. In the case of his Cello Concerto this seems astonishing, given its mesmerisingly melancholic first movement, which seems to embody the trauma of loss experienced by his own personal tragedy and millions of other people in the wake of the Holocaust.

Edgar Moreau is subtle and eloquent here – not overplaying the mournful element, although his approach seems a little cool when compared to some other renditions, not least that of Rostropovich, who gave its premiere. However, Moreau adeptly creates dramatic contrast in the bouncy third-movement Allegro, where the rapid figures are crisply delivered, enhanced by a strong rhythmic partnership with the orchestra. He captures both the ironic and playful klezmer-inspired spirit of the second movement, which clearly reflects Weinberg’s Jewish heritage, and puts his spectacular instrumental skills to fine effect in the eloquent cadenza leading into the finale. Here again, Moreau explodes with energy in the Shostakovich-influenced motifs, before the heartfelt return of the opening melody, engulfing the listener once more in profound sadness.

The shimmering, perfumed textures of Dutilleux’s concerto – a work also written for Rostropovich – are exquisitely conveyed in this warm recording. Moreau conjures up a tantalising range of colours, his sense of when to be prominent and when to recede into the composer’s ethereal timbres perfectly judged.