I must admit that the primary reason I sought these two recordings was that I collect recordings by the conductors involved. I wasn’t terribly familiar with Enrico Mainardi’s solo playing, knowing him primarily as a member of the trio consisting of violinist George Kulenkampff (and later Wolfgang Schneiderhan) and pianist Edwin Fischer. At one time I did hear a bit of his solo Bach and Beethoven Sonatas (see here for a discography), but had no clear memory of their attributes. So, I was not quite prepared for these very absorbing and well thought out readings. At first Mainardi’s seems too self-effacing for the role of soloist, but it doesn’t take too long to fall under the spell of his beautifully drawn musical lines, musical integrity and honesty. He doesn’t possess the huge tone and larger-than-life presence of some titans of the instrument, but he invites one to share a different kind of concentrated lyricism that really pays dividends in these works. Perhaps the final driving climax in the final movement of the Dvořák lacks some of the requisite energy, but I was so won over by the lack of the blustery, choppy style often encountered in the work, that I didn’t miss this one aspect. Fritz Lehmann and the BPO are wonderful accomplices in this, and I’m not sure I’ve ever heard such ravishingly gorgeous playing, or lyrically beguiling phrasing in ANY recording of the work (certainly the Czech Philharmonic under Václav Talich with the young Rostropovich are another in this echelon, but I don’t feel that Rostropovich was at his best in this version).
Interestingly, Mainardi recorded both of these works with the same conductors in both 78 and lp eras. I hope to present the van Kempen version of the Dvořák at some point in the future. I didn’t know about the Lehmann lp version of the Schumann, but I’ll be on the lookout for it!
Thanks, once again, to Mike Gartz for his source material. The Schumann had a developing edge crack on disc one, which you will hear on sides one and two. I did my best to minimize the thumps without causing undesirable processing artifacts.
Schumann: Cello Concerto in A Minor, Op. 129
Polydor 67943/45 (matr. 1917/22 GE 9)
June 22, 1942
Paul van Kempen, Conductor
Dvořák: Cello Concerto in B Minor, Op. 104
DGG LPM 18 236
January 24/31, 1955
(in the Jesus-Christus-Kirche, Berlin-Dahlem)
Fritz Lehmann, Conductor
Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Note: Mediafire has been very prone to corrupted uploads lately, so I may have to redo some of the files if there are problems. Please try and note which “part” (of the 9) shows any errors, and I will promptly upload new versions.
On a personal note: if any of you are located in New York, you can see (and possibly hear) me in action on January 28th, in Carnegie Hall with the Houston Symphony under Hans Graf, playing the organ part to The Planets by Holst. I should add that 99.9% of my musical life consists of playing the piano, but hopefully I’ll push the right buttons and not step on the pedals at the wrong moment!