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Alisa Weilerstein

Shostakovich Cello Concertos 1 & 2

Decca Classics

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Alisa Weilerstein: NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert
1 Shostakovich: Cello Concerto No.1, Op.107 - Allegretto  
2 Shostakovich: Cello Concerto No.1, Op.107 - Moderato  
3 Shostakovich: Cello Concerto No.1, Op.107 - Cadenza  
4 Shostakovich: Cello Concerto No.1, Op.107 - Allegro con moto  
5 Shostakovich: Cello Concerto No.2, Op.126 - Largo  
6 Shostakovich: Cello Concerto No.2, Op.126 - Allegretto  
7 Shostakovich: Cello Concerto No.2, Op.126 - Allegretto  
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Musicians often set great store by their artistic genealogy – having a teacher who was taught by a musician who studied with a great performer of the nineteenth century, for example. But the genealogical chain rarely comes with as few links as it does in the case of Alisa Weilerstein and her connection to the composer Dmitri Shostakovich, whose two great cello concertos she records for Decca Classics.

In fact the chain has just one link. Weilerstein was mentored by the legendary cellist Mstislav Rostropovich, for whom both concertos were written, and who was a great friend of the composer. For authenticity of insight and authority of information, Weilerstein's credentials could hardly be more auspicious.

The cellist was 22 when she played Concerto No. 1 for Rostropovich. As she recalls:

"He was a titanic presence, sitting very close, his feet almost touching mine. I played the entire concerto for him without stopping. He then gave me a piece of advice which I'll never forget. He said that the emotions in Shostakovich's music should never be ‘direct' or ‘heart on sleeve.' The performer should convey intense emotion that has to be somehow concealed at the same time."

For this recording Weilerstein performs with the Spanish conductor Pablo Heras-Casado and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, although the circumstances of each concerto were different. The First was set down in studio conditions, and the Second at a live concert later in the same week. Heras-Casado, who is also Principal Conductor of the Orchestra of St Luke's, and Principal Guest Conductor of the Teatro Real, Madrid, has nothing but praise and admiration for the cellist's artistry:

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