Cello Concertos: Shostakovich, Weinberg, Lutoslawski (2016)

Shostakovich, Lutosloawski, Weinberg

Nicolas Altstaedt

Michal Nesterowicz

For the western world Moisei Vainberg, or (likewise in Russian) Mieczyslaw Weinberg was for long a well-kept secret of the Soviet Union. He was born in Warsaw, where his father worked for a Jewish theatre as composer and musical director. In 1939, with German troops at his heels, Weinberg fled to the Soviet Union, where he studied composition at the conservatory of Minsk with Vassily Zolotaryov, a pupil of Rimsky-Korsakov. Two years later, pursued once again by war, he settled in Tashkent in Uzbekistan. It was from here that Weinberg sent his First Symphony to Shostakovich, who was so impressed that he arranged for him to come to live in Moscow in 1943. The two composers became good friends, frequently playing through scores on two pianos, inspiring one another, and performing their own music together for the obligatory inspections of the bond of composers. Shostakovich also assisted his seven year younger friend in finding work. All this in Moscow, where Weinberg was to remain for the rest of his life. In the meantime his family in Poland was murdered by the Nazis, and in 1948 his father-in-law, the celebrated Jewish actor Solomon Mikhoels, was eliminated on Stalin’s orders. In 1953 Weinberg himself was falsely accused and arrested. But Shostakovich, who considered his friend to be one of the best Russian composers, made a stand for him. In the end it was Stalin’s death that saved Weinberg’s life.

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Nicolas Altstaedt

German/French cellist Nicolas Altstaedt is renowned worldwide for his creativity and versatility, in his captivating performances of repertoire on both modern and gut strings. Awarded the Credit Suisse Young Artist Award in 2010, he performed the Schumann concerto with the Vienna Philharmonic under Gustavo Dudamel at the Lucerne Festival. Since then, he has performed worldwide with orchestras such as Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich, Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, Tokyo Metropolitan Orchestra, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and all the BBC Orchestras working with conductors Sir Roger Norrington, Sir Neville Marriner, Vladimir Ashkenazy and Andrew Marcon amongst others.

Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin

For more than 65 years the Deutsches Symphonie- Orchester Berlin (DSO Berlin) has distinguished itself as one of Germany’s leading orchestras. The number of renowned Music Directors, the scope and variety of its work, and its particular emphasis on modern and contemporary music, makes the ensemble unique. It was founded in 1946 as the RIAS-Symphonie-Orchester by the broadcasting station in the American sector of Berlin. In 1956 the orchestra was renamed the Radio Symphonie-Orchester Berlin (RSO Berlin), and in 1993, to avoid confusion in Berlin’s newly reunited cultural landscape, the orchestra decided to relinquish its familiar name in favour of its present one.

Ferenc Fricsay became the orchestra’s first Music Director. He set the standard and defined the repertoire. The orchestra’s sound was characterized by transparency, structural clarity and plasticity. It quickly became well known for its commitment to 20th century music, and its ability to attract first-rate conductors. In 1964, Lorin Maazel took on the artistic responsibility for the orchestra. He was succeeded by Riccardo Chailly (1982-89), Vladimir Ashkenazy (1989-99), Kent Nagano (2000-06) and Ingo Metzmacher (2007-10). Since the start of the 2012-13 season the 34-year-old Ossetian conductor Tugan Sokhiev is DSO Berlin’s new Music Director. He has already held the title of Music Director Designate since the beginning of the 2010-11 season.

The Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin and its history have become emblematic of the democratic and cultural renewal of Germany following the defeat of National Socialism and the end of World War II. That is how the orchestra has been perceived at its concerts in Berlin and on tours throughout Germany and the rest of Europe, North and South America, and in the Near, Middle and Far East. Its groundbreaking radio and recording productions have further solidified this image. In 2011 the orchestra was awarded a Grammy Award for the Best Opera Recording.

bio & photo: from booklet 38116 (Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin with cellist Nicolas Altstaedt, Channel Classics)

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Cello Concertos: Shostakovich, Weinberg, Lutoslawski (2016)

Shostakovich, Lutosloawski, Weinberg

Nicolas Altstaedt

    BBC Music Magazine 4/5 stars -

(...) the Weinberg is wonderfully played by Nicolas Altstaedt, who brings tone both muscular and softgrained to illuminate the work’s contrasting facets. (...)


(...) excellent musicianship and outstanding recording quality. (...) the musicianship is first rate (...) Jared Sacks recording and production techniques are outstanding. (...)

    Resmusica – La Clef Resmusica

(...) violoncelliste franco-allemand Nicolas Altstaedt nous livre des versions altières et essentielles du Concerto n° 1 de Chostakovitch et du Concerto de Mieczyslaw Weinberg : un disque à marquer d’une pierre blanche. (...) Confirmation d’un emmense talent.

    Classics Today 9/9

These are excellent performances all around–dashingly played in the allegros, touching and sensitive in the lyrical movements, and effortlessly virtuosic. (...) the engineering (...) is up to the high standards of the Channel Classics house.

    Audio Klassik

(...) leichter, federnder als der Altmeister Mstislav Rostropowitsch (...) Dieses Pracht-Stück [Weinberg] muss man gehört haben – und diese sehr sinnliche Darstellung eignet sich bestens zum Kennenlernen. (...)

    The Guardian -

(...) On this disc the two composers’ cello concertos make an impressive vehicle for rising cellist Nicolas Altsteadt. (...)

    Spiegel Online

(...) Kein Kampf zwischen Ensemble und Solist, sondern ein wirkliches Miteinander, ein Verweben der Klangebenen zu einem einzigen, dichten Sound, bei dem dennoch der Solopart klare Kontur zeigt. (...)


(...) With a distinctly spontaneous feel the soloist gives an oustanding performance, powerfully expressive. (...) deep concentration and exemplary musicianship. (...) firts-rate sound being clear and especially well balanced.

    HR- Online CD Tipp

(...) eindringlich und klangschön (...)

    BR-Klassik – CD des Monats

Nicolas Altstaedt spielt mit einem unvoreingenommenen Ton, als würde er gerade jede Note einzeln erkunden wollen. Zärtlich, aber trotzdem artikuliert spricht er diese neu entdeckte Sprache, wenn er mit dem Orchester in Konversation tritt. Die Neuartigkeit zeugt aber nicht von Unreife, sondern gleicht einem Befreiungsschlag, mit dem man der Musik näher kommt als je zuvor.


Nicolas Altsaedt has taken the piece (Weinberg) to his heart (...) even finds some shades of echt Weinbergian wishfulness (...) In the Shostakovich Concerto, too, there are many pages here Altstaedt needs fear no comparison, in a market full of first rate accounts. (...) Recording quality is excellent. (...)

Cello Concertos: Shostakovich, Weinberg, Lutoslawski (2016)

Shostakovich, Lutosloawski, Weinberg

Nicolas Altstaedt

Cables: van den Hul
Digital Converters: Grimm DSD AD
Mastering Engineer: Jared Sacks
Mastering Equipment: B&W 803 diamond series
Microphones: Bruel & Kjaer, Schoeps
Mixing Board: Rens Heijnis custom made
Producer: Jared Sacks
Recording Engineer: Jared Sacks
Recording location: Jesus Christus Kirche Berlin, Germany
Recording Software: Merging
Recording Type & Bit Rate: DSD64

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38116: Cello Concertos: Shostakovich, Weinberg, Lutoslawski
01:11:05   Select quality & channels above
Cello Concerto no. 1 - Allegretto
00:06:19   N/A
Cello Concerto no. 1 - Moderato
00:11:49   N/A
Cello Concerto no. 1 - Cadenza
00:05:20   N/A
Cello Concerto no. 1 - Allegro con moto
00:04:29   N/A
Little Suite - Piccolo
00:02:23   N/A
Little Suite - Hurra Polka
00:01:37   N/A
Little Suite - Song
00:02:30   N/A
Little Suite - Dance
00:03:34   N/A
Concerto for Cello - Adagio
00:08:48   N/A
Concerto for Cello - Moderato
00:05:22   N/A
Concerto for Cello - Allegro - Cadenza
00:09:33   N/A
Concerto for Cello - Allegro
00:09:21   N/A

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