Jean-Guihen Queyras / BBC Symphony Orchestra / Jirí Belohlávek EDWARD ELGAR Cello Concerto TCHAIKOVSKY Rococo Variations

French cellist Jean-Guihen Queyras explores the late Romantic repertoire on this 2013 Harmonia Mundi release and finds a kind of mirroring of intentions and expressions between Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky's Rococo Variations on a Rococo Theme, Op. 33, and Edward Elgar's Cello Concerto, Op. 85. While this is a rather subjective understanding of the music that listeners can either take or leave, there's no denying that Queyras, conductor Jirí Belohlávek, and the BBC Symphony Orchestra offer performances of both works that are evocative and beautiful, with or without any underlying connections. Indeed, the polished soloist and the committed orchestra play effectively in both pieces, and Queyras' intense but controlled playing is well balanced by the orchestral accompaniment, which never overwhelms. For a break between the two heavyweight pieces, Queyras plays Antonín Dvorák's Rondo, Op. 94, and the tone poem, Silent Woods, Op. 68/5, which provide a lighter mood. Harmonia Mundi's reproduction is immaculate, with central placement for the soloist and realistic depth for the orchestral sections. (Blair Sanderson)

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