SCHUMANN Cello Concerto BRAHMS Serenade / Gutman

Cello Concerto op. 129

Serenade No. 1
Natalia Gutman
Mahler Chamber Orchestra
Claudio Abbado
Int. Release 01 Mar. 2007
1 CD / Download
0289 476 5786 6
Konzertmitschnitt/Live Recording
Souvenir d'Italia from Claudio Abbado

Track List

Robert Schumann (1810 - 1856)
Cello Concerto in A Minor, Op. 129



Claudio Abbado, Natalia Gutman, Mahler Chamber Orchestra

Johannes Brahms (1833 - 1897)
Serenade No. 1 in D Major, Op. 11


Claudio Abbado, Mahler Chamber Orchestra

Claudio Abbado, Natalia Gutman

Claudio Abbado, Mahler Chamber Orchestra

Claudio Abbado, Natalia Gutman, Mahler Chamber Orchestra

Claudio Abbado, Mahler Chamber Orchestra

Claudio Abbado, Natalia Gutman, Mahler Chamber Orchestra

Total Playing Time 1:13:24

A top class recording . . .

Claudio Abbado's partnership with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra continues to bear rich fruit. This is the second time Abbado has recorded Brahms' First Serenade for Deutsche Grammophon, this performance taken from concerts last year in Reggio Emilia in Italy. Each of the six movements is sharply characterised, with outstanding solo woodwind contributions, and Abbado brings out unexpected resonances in Brahms' apparently guileless evocations. The breadth of the first movement, for instance, seems to anticipate the world of Mahler's early symphonies. In Schumann's Cello Concerto, though, Natalia Gutman's approach is more of an acquired taste. Her rich, dark tone is always a joy to hear . . .

Clap hands . . . for this live Deutsche Grammophon recording with Claudio Abbado and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, featuring the Schumann cello concerto . . . The roundness of her cello tone hits you from her very first phrase. This music has lived long in her heart and fingers. Apart from the emotional depths plumbed, note her extraordinary energy. Although articulation and phrasing are crisp, there¿s nothing neatly polished about them; the last movement¿s flourishes contain genuine bite. Not that she¿s always all muscle: in the middle movement, pensive lyricism floats from her. Whatever path Schumann¿s passions take in this feverish, endearing work Gutman is right there, with Abbado¿s fine young players in step. Gutman¿s performance is so richly satisfying that you want more of her . . . For the rest we¿re with Brahms¿s Serenade No. 1 . . . there¿s pleasure too in the intimate play of the woodwinds in the minuet, the scherzo¿s hushed beauties, the fine balance struck between Brahms the symphonic architect and Brahms the elegant entertainer . . . the instrumental skills and Abbado¿s wisdom take this disc to a high level.

. . . he paints the old-world bucolic canvas of Brahms's first orchestral work with rare detail and insight . . . Abbado encourages a vital but pliant rhythmic dance that allows the snap of the clarinet and oboe melodies to register with joyful spontaneity and tonal pungency. A darkening of harmony and texture momentarily suggests clouding of the landscape, but the glorious second subject's sunny demeanour is voiced with such glowing flexibility that you know this deceptive masterpiece will be nourished by genius. Throughout the work the dance elements, much to the fore, are sprung with freshness and vigour. All manner of imaginative opportunities are relished by the enthusiastic and athletic response of the musicians of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, who perform the volte-face from ensemble player to soloist or duettist with Jekyll-and-Hyde chemistry. Try the opening of the second-movement Scherzo to hear how alert dynamic control, acutely balanced instrumental texture and rhythmic buoyancy combine to create the illusion of a distantly-heard village band -- pure magic. Similar inspirational qualities are to be heard in the Schumann Concerto, where Abbado establishes an affectingly natural rapport with his soloist from the outset. Natalia Gutman voices the long-drawn expressive profile of the opening melody with such seamless pliancy and gentle confidentiality that it could almost go on forever. Abbado supports her conversational stance with sublime sensitivity as well as trenchancy when required. Both conductor and soloist never treat the work too earnestly, however, but ensure that the moments of geniality provide sufficient relief and emotional space. Gutman's tone is relatively lean and sparing with vibrato without sounding undernourished . . . With luminous sound quality captured from live performances in Italy last year, this is a very special disc indeed.

Natalia Gutman gives a strongly romantic interpretation of Schumann¿s rarely heard concerto. She is especially persuasive in the languorous slow movement, where Claudio Abbado and the orchestra are in total rapport with her. The orchestra is in sparkling form . . . An attractive coupling.

Abbado¿s indian summer . . . continues to produce glowing performances. The treasurable one here is of Brahms¿s adorable, unjustly neglected orchestral Serenade, written in his mid-twenties, when he was prone to the rapture of youthful love and joy in nature . . . The Mahler Chamber Orchestra play with obvious affection for both the score and their founder-conductor in a performance that should become a collector¿s item.

Abbado embarks on an enthralling adventure with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, which compels from start to finish. The volatility, spontaneity and intimacy of this performance reminds us, rightly, that this was originally scored for octet and remains a true work of chamber music. One has a vivid sense of individual players communicating with each other in a live concert. Which makes the recording quality even more astonishing, capturing as it does the darkly burnished brilliance of the orchestral texture and wonderfully fine details with equal success . . . Natalia Gutman is a distinguished artist, like Abbado, a concert veteran, and this is a performance of gravity and reflection. Gutman, like her teacher Rostropovich, presents a powerfully-argued interpretation, and shares with him a broad, brassy quality in the fortes, yet she also shows great subtlety in a luminous first movement.

What I most enjoyed about this superbly engineered CD was the high level of musical interrelation that it more or less consistently conveys, between Natalia Gutman and the orchestra in the Schumann, and between Abbado and his young players in both works. Gutman's playing, like Abbado's conducting, is communicative and conversational . . . her tone mostly warm in texture, her bowing seamless and in the quieter sections quite ravishing although she's also capable of muscular attack. For a sustained sense of musical line, try the opening minute or so of the slow tempo. The effect is of poignancy beyond words. The finale is playful and fairly genial, and the clarity of Gutman's articulation means that the solo line never sounds merely "busy". The orchestra is there with her every bar of the way, ever responsive, attentive and affectionate . . . Abbado's performance is chamber-like, modestly individual and for the most part beautifully played by the Mahler CO. Just listen to the easeful charm of the opening and the adoring way . . . This is prime-quality Abbado: points are made but never overstated, and there's always the sense that quality musicians are working together with a common musical aim. Who could possibly ask for more?

One of the 'star' musicians in Abbado's Lucerne orchestra, Natalia Gutman gives a rock-steady, spacious account of the Schumann concerto. Brahms's early orchestral work is even more persuasively performed.

The inner parts are brought out strongly -- the off-beat chords under the opening melody are boldly present, and the principal cello's solo line in the slow movement is as audible as the soloist's. It's this "Langsam" movement, as moving as any I've heard, in which Gutman's approach works best, employing a lot of expressive portamentos, particularly in the lingering descending perfect 5th at the beginning of the phrase. In the stormy transition between this and the last movement, her tone intensifies with effective use of rapid vibrato and there are some nice, rapid ornamental trills and spiccato bowing in the "Sehr lebhaft". Claudio Abbado draws out some bold colours from the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, both here and in Brahms's charming, multi-movement Serenade.

Summer cheer in the midst of winter -- Brahms's First Serenade warmed through by the ever-responsive Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Claudio Abbado moulding every phrase as if he'd written it himself.

. . . sie [lässt] es sich nicht nehmen, das musikalische Geschehen absolut zu dominieren. Ihr warmer fließender Ton bestimmt das musikalische Geschehen von Anfang bis Ende . . . [sie] entfaltet innerhalb kürzester Zeit ihre weit geschwungenen, blühenden Linien . . . Gutman haucht dabei ihren Part wie zarte Nebelschleier hin und lässt auch im pianissimo ihren Ton wunderschön aufleuchten. Das von ihr wohldosiert eingesetzte Vibrato bleibt immer geschmackvoll und dezent. Überhaupt setzt sie alles daran, jede Form von Überzuckerung geschickt zu vermeiden . . . ihre Interpretation . . . [ist] durchweg frei von falschem Pathos . . . [Brahms: Serenade no. 1]: Im pastoral anmutenden Duktus des ersten Satzes lässt Abbado seine Musiker in einen kunstvoll sublimierten Bauerntanz einstimmen, dessen mitreißende Kraft er behutsam entfaltet. Abbado zeigt sich hier wieder einmal als feinnerviger Klangzauberer, der mit der reichen Orchesterpalette gekonnt zu spielen weiß . . . Im folgenden Adagio gibt Abbado den Holzbläsern viel Raum, um ihre Linien gesanglich entwickeln zu können, was diese im Zwiegespräch mit den tiefen Streichern auch sehr eindrucksvoll tun . . . seine Interpretation der Brahmsschen Serenade [ist] auf jeden Fall hörenswert.

Wenn Claudio Abbado und Natalia Gutman Schumanns Cellokonzert zusammen musizieren, ist man vom ersten Ton an gefangen von der weit ausstrahlenden Wärme der Tongebung. Insbesondere das Spiel der Cellistin besticht durch einen noblen, singenden, ja erzählenden und fast zärtlich zu nennenden Ton. Beide Musiker haben es nicht nötig, der Welt etwas vorzubrillieren. Sie tauchen einfach ganz tief in die romantische Musikwelt ein, ohne Eile, ohne hochpolierten Talmiglanz, ohne künstliche Aufgeregtheit . . . Die neu herausgekommene CD mit Abbado am Pult seines Mahler Chamber Orchestra -- gleichfalls ein Livemitschnitt von Konzerten in kleinen italienischen Theatern -- ist daher ein rares Dokument einer großen Künstlerin, das die einzigartige Atmosphäre von Gutmans Auftritten aufs Intensivste einfängt. Die Aura lebendigen Musizierens ist auch in der ersten Orchesterserenade von Johannes Brahms zu spüren. Wer außer Claudio Abbado kann es zuwege bringen, die ganze reiche und dicht gewobene Klangfülle dieses Werks zum Leuchten zu bringen, ohne je auch nur einen Anflug von breiiger Dickheit zu evozieren?

Sie spielt das schroff Unkonventionelle des Konzerts mit einer Seelenruhe aus, an der sich romantischer veranlagte Interpreten ein Beispiel nehmen sollten. Eine klare, intelligente, mitunter elegante Wiedergabe . . . Die CD ist von umso größerem Reiz, als sie Schumanns Spätwerk mit dem frühesten Orchesterwerk von Johannes Brahms kombiniert . . . Davon gibt es nicht sehr viele Aufnahmen, die so gut sind wie diese.

. . . [Gutman] n'a rien perdu de sa musicalité: son phrasé large et soutenu favorise une lecture très intériorisée, et même intime (à la façon d'un tendre monologue intérieur dans le "Langsam" central) . . . elle persiste et signe, et le chef italien met à l'écouter une attention chambriste et affectueuse. Il prend le temps, laisse parler la musique, modelant plus qu'il n'impose.

. . . les deux musiciens ont la même conception de certaines partitions. C'est le cas du Concerto pour violoncelle en la mineur de Robert Schumann dont ils donnent une version chambriste des plus intéressantes. On peut véritablement parler d'un chant intérieur, d'un lied romantique. Cette intimité dans la compréhension de l'ouvre permet aussi de fouiller le caractère des thèmes dan le premier mouvement "Nicht zu schnell", la sérénité élégiaque du premier, la passion syncopée et dansante du second. Le tempo s'élargit progressivement et la mélodie comme murmurée est accompagnée par Claudio Abbado jusque dans les pianissimos. L'Adagio qui se construit tel un chant sans parole, introspectif, permet un dialogue direct avec les bois. Claudio Abbado laisse les soliste de l'Orchestre de chambre Mahler accompagner Natalia Gutman, ce qu'ils accomplissent avec une poésie d'une infinie tendresse, dans un climat d'immobilité . . . La Sérénade no. 1 en ré majeur de Johannes Brahms fut concue à l'origine pour un ensemble de chambre. Claudio Abbado en traduit la verve des rythmes et danses populaires, mais comme à son habitude, il laisse respirer ses excellents solistes dont les clarinettes, et le cor. Il y a comme un ´état de grâce dans ces pages et tout particulièrement dans le menuet et le Scherzo qui évoquent à la fois une filiation mozartienne et les couleurs des pays danubiens. Ce sont de beaux concerts dont on se félicite qu'ils soient à présent disponibles.

Nous avons apprécié ces captations de concert idéalement chambristes, grâce à des effectifs allégés, avec une aération et une transparence propice au dialogue intimiste. La parfaite clarté va de pair avec de somptueuses couleurs mordorées dans le Concerto, et on a rarement savoure des timbres aussi mordants et truculents dans la Sérénade de Brahms!

... Natalia Gutman, que logra la proeza de equiparar la sonoridad del instrumento a la calidez de la voz humana, con unas cotas de introspectivo dramatismo.

... versiones magníficas de estas dos conocidas obras. Supera los problemas de la orquestación de Schumann para ofrecer una visión realmente buena del Concierto para chelo, del que además participa la maestría de Natalia Gutman. Con respecto a Brahms, Abbado nos brinda una visión impresionante, con una musicalidad que cada vez se vuelve menos habitual en las obras orquestales que suele conocer el público en general, pero que él renueva para redescubrirnos la música del maestro alemán.