Janos Starker Dvorak & Faure Hi-Q Records XRCD24
By the mid 1950s, the Hungarian cellist Janos Starker (1924-2013) was already a legend and principal cellist of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under Reiner. EMI producer Walter Legge arranged for Starker to record all the essential works in his repertoire and this stereo recording of the Dvorák concerto, made at London’s Kingsway Hall in 1956, has become a highly collectable album.
As the Telegraph obituary put it: ‘Starker possessed a phenomenal technique. His bow attacked the strings with both a ravishing intensity and a deep, biting edge. He was equally startling to watch, his piercing black eyes glaring out from beneath deep black eyebrows.’ But he wasn’t all scary many a recital programme involved him performing in short sleeves, puffing on a cigarette (he smoked 60 a day) and sipping scotch, interspersed with sharing his low opinions on conductors.
In the original October 1957 mono review in GRAMOPHONE:
“undeniably a great performance…Starker’s playing is of great virtuosity and often of great poetry…certainly among the leading recorded performances of this wonderful concerto.”
Janos Starker, cello
The Philharmonia Orchestra
Walter Susskind, conductor
Antonin Dvorak (1841-1904)
Concerto in B Minor, Op. 104
1. 1st Movement: Allegro
2. 2nd Movement: Adagio ma non troppo
3. 3rd Movement: Finale: Allegro moderato – Andante – Allegro vivo
Gabriel Faure (1845-1924)
4. Elegie, Op. 24