Muhly, Helbig, Long: Three Continents Cello Concerto; Shostakovich: Cello Concerto No. 2

Muhly, Helbig, Long: Three Continents Cello Concerto; Shostakovich: Cello Concerto No. 2

by Jan VoglerJan Vogler


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The individualism represented by the Western concert music tradition is nowhere better demonstrated than by the rarity of truly collaborative compositions. The "F-A-E Sonata," in which Schumann and Brahms had a hand, and the collaborative works of Les Six head a very short list, and the three-composer "Cello Concerto Three Continents" heard here may be the first concerto of its type except for the troublesome example of the "Yellow River Concerto" from China. The work was commissioned by the Dresden Music Festival, and though the idea may seem gimmicky, it works surprisingly well. The three composers do indeed come from three continents: Nico Muhly is American, Sven Helbig German, and Zhou Long Chinese. All have connections to cellist Jan Vogler, who nimbly enters the world of each piece. The three movements fit together well: Long's finale, where the cello emulates a Chinese zither, is the right place for brisk national sounds, and Muhly's opening movement is, although the shortest, the most expansive, with complex, pointillistic orchestration, rendered with splendid clarity by the WDR Sinfonieorchester under Cristian Macelaru. Helbig's slow movement is a long-breathed "Aria" that shows Vogler's songful tone at its best. The Shostakovich "Cello Concerto No. 2, Op. 126," was recorded on a different occasion, with a different conductor (an uncharacteristically perfunctory Valery Gergiev) and orchestra, and although it's unobjectionable, it feels something like an afterthought. However, the "Three Continents Concerto" is an interesting find that could easily have a life beyond the current performers.

Product Details

Release Date: 06/12/2020
Label: Sony Masterworks
UPC: 0194397749427
catalogNumber: 19439774942
Rank: 29078


  1. Cello Concerto No. 2 in G major, Op. 126
  2. Three Continents, concerto for ceo & orchestra

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Jan Vogler   Primary Artist

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