Elgar – Tchaïkovsky – Dvorak

Cello Concertos

Jean-guihen Queyras - BBC Symphony Orchestra - Jiří Bělohlávek
Harmonia Mundi

Enregistrer le concerto d’Elgar aujourd’hui

“Près de 50 ans après son enregistrement légendaire, il est impossible de jouer les premières notes du Concerto d’Elgar sans penser à la présence solaire de l’immense Jacqueline du Pré.
Pourtant, si écrasant soit cet héritage, il n’est pas souhaitable de s’y limiter.
Chaque génération se doit de réinventer les chefs-d’œuvre du répertoire, avec son propre bagage musical, culturel, et émotionnel.
Ce ne sera ni celui de nos Maîtres, bien qu’en étant inévitablement inspiré et imprégné, ni celui de nos héritiers, qui s’affranchiront sans hésiter de nos certitudes.
 La vocation de musicien classique implique de laisser notre voix s’épanouir avec notre propre esthétique sonore, notre vibrato, notre sens du phrasé et du portato, etc…, conditions sine qua non à une interprétation vivante qui pourra toucher ceux qui partagent et vivent ce monde avec nous.
Ou alors, on n’enregistre pas les Suites de Bach. Ni les concertos de Haydn. La liste serait longue car notre héritage discographique, en ce XXIe siècle, est d’une grande richesse. Mais laissons à notre avenir la chance de l’être plus encore…” Jean-Guihen Queyras

On the face of it there is little in common between the elegiac song of Elgar’s Concerto, the Bohemian nostalgia of Dvořák’s exquisite miniatures, and the stylistic exercise of Tchaikovsky revisiting the 18th century. But Jean-Guihen Queyras sees in this programme ‘a fascinating mirror effect’, with each composer ‘playing on contrasts to elucidate his intentions’. Alongside the great Czech conductor Jiří Bělohlávek, he reveals every facet of these Late Romantic works.


The Telegraph (5/5)
“the performance is a marvel. The mellow timbre of his 1696 Gioffredo Cappa instrument is a pure joy. But allied to that, with orchestral playing of wisdom and idiomatic acumen under Jiří Bělohlávek, there is the sense that Queyras has made this recording through genuine love and perception of the Elgarian language […]”

Classical Music Magazine
“Queyras’ lack of sentimentality and his sense of drive in the Elgar are very welcome, as is the urgent and ripely idiomatic contribution for an orchestra currently at the top of it game. The Tchaikovsky Rococo Variations has great poise and zest, and as a bonus we are treated to two short pieces by Dvorak – Silent Woods and the Rondo – which could scarcely have been done better.”

Espace Musique
“Je vous confie que je considère ce nouvel album du violoncelliste Jean-Guihen Queyras comme une pure merveille. Queyras fait chanter son instrument comme peu y réussissent. La musique prend vie avec une puissance remarquable.”

Herald Scotland
“I’m a fervent admirer of French cellist Jean-Guihen Queyras, particularly for the incredibly neat, compact and refined quality of his playing, elements that here bring an aura of sophistication and tremendous intellectual integrity to his new recording of the piece, with Jiri Belohlavek and the BBC Symphony Orchestra in immaculately responsive and sympathetic accompaniment.”

The Strad
A rich and warm recording with a finely judged balance between orchestra and soloist adds to the excellence, but more important is the high level of carefully rehearsed detail in the orchestral parts under Jiří Bĕlohlávek’s direction. A number of elements combine to make Queyras’s playing inspirational on its own. A fluid and commanding bowing technique, awesomely demonstrated in the Rococo Variations, is certainly part of the equation, as is his left hand – a truly obedient servant to his bidding. Beyond this, though, he invests the cello’s voice with human characteristics – it whispers, sobs, screams, laughs and sings. And it is this level of subtlety that he brings to the Elgar Concerto.

International Record Review

“Queyras is a fine cellist, fluent technically and gifted with a flexibility of tone that can range from a warm richness to a resiny tang and to sweetness in the upper registers into which both Dvorak and Elgar take him.”

“Queyras is recomandingly secure and articulate soloist, and he enjoys attentive, typically selfless support throughout from Jiri Belohlavek and the BBC SO…Watkins’s endearingly communicative and deeply tender advocacy in particular really does touch to the marrow every time…both the lovely Dvork miniatures are idiomatically surveyed”.

BBC Music Magazine
“no note or tone is misplaced, with harmonics especially pure, and a judicious use of vibrato means that Elgar’s loping first-movement Moderato begins very purely indeed. It’s refreshing not to have the Concerto larded with sentimentality”

Sunday Times
“the antithesis of the youthful Jacqueline Du Pré’s fireband approach. That is not to say that Queyras lacks passion the opening chords are bold and he soars un the opening movement’s moderato and the allegro ma non troppo of the finale. Belohlavek and the BBC SO are idiomatic partners”