Best recording / performance Dvorak Cello conc.

in B minor, I think.

I mislaid my penguin guide and I'd like to replace a very old LP (that cost 25 cents) with a CD.


I like the YoYo Ma one with the NY Phil under Mehta (I think it's Mehta), but I know for a fact that there are other great ones out there. Personally, I wouldn't mind owning three or four different interpretations of that one. I think Casals, Rostropovich and DuPre all have recordings of that. Forget sonics, they will all be very different and very interesting.
The Rostopovich is my opionion the best or at lesst the most warm and romantic version done to date. I believe it is paired with Tchaikovsky's Rococo Variations. An outstanding performance.
Agree about the Rostropovich--I believe it's on the Erato label. Starker on Mercury is also pretty good, and would be available now on SACD hybrid (not sure about the Erato's availability).
For sonics, I'd go with the Starker/Dorati/Mercury SACD. Damned fine performance, too, although I prefer the Casals and Rostropovich performances by a bit.

Thanks all. I checked at and found that Rostropovich has had several recordings.

The Giulini with the LPO (number 1) comes recommended.

I don't own, nor do I intend to buy an SACD player, but thanks for mentioning it.

1. Dvorák, Saint-saëns: Cello Concertos / Rostropovich, Giulini
Release Date: 09/11/2001 Label: Emi Great Recordings Of The Century Catalog: 67594
Composer: Camille Saint-Saëns, Antonín Dvorák
Performer: Mstislav Rostropovich
Conductor: Carlo Maria Giulini
Orchestra/Ensemble: London Philharmonic Orchestra

2. Dvorak: Cello Concerto, Piano Concerto / Rostropovich
Release Date: 09/22/1994 Label: Supraphon Catalog: 111901
Composer: Antonín Dvorák
Performer: Mstislav Rostropovich, Frantisek Maxian
Conductor: Vaclav Talich
Orchestra/Ensemble: Czech Philharmonic Orchestra

3. Dvorák: Cello Concerto; Tchaikowsky / Rostropovich, Karajan
Release Date: 01/23/1996 Label: Dg The Originals Catalog: 447413
Composer: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Antonín Dvorák
Performer: Mstislav Rostropovich
Conductor: Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble: Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra

4. Dvorak: Cello Concerto; Strauss: Don Quixote / Rostropovich
Release Date: 06/14/2004 Label: Yedang Entertainment Catalog: 10015
Composer: Antonín Dvorák, Richard Strauss
Performer: Mstislav Rostropovich, Dimitri Shebalin
Conductor: Boris Khaikin, Kiril Kondrashin
Orchestra/Ensemble: USSR State Radio Symphony Orchestra, Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra
CD $8.99

5. Dvorak: Symphony No 9, Etc / Talich, Rostropovich, Czech Po
Release Date: 02/25/2003 Label: Archipel Catalog: 99
Composer: Antonín Dvorák
Performer: Mstislav Rostropovich
Conductor: Vaclav Talich
Orchestra/Ensemble: Czech Philharmonic Orchestra
CD $11.99

6. Mstislav Rostropovich - Dvorák, Saint-saëns: Cello Concertos
Release Date: 04/10/1997 Label: Testament Catalog: 1101
Composer: Sergei Rachmaninov, Alexander Scriabin, Claude Debussy, David Popper, Camille Saint-Saëns,
Antonín Dvorák
Performer: Mstislav Rostropovich, Alexander Dedyukhin
Conductor: Sir Malcolm Sargent, Sir Adrian Boult
Orchestra/Ensemble: Philharmonia Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
From the cheap seats there is Maria Kliegel on Naxos. Don't overlook this one just 'cause you've never heard of her. She is a very fine cellist. She throws in the Elgar Concerto for good measure. This CD caused me to look up Kliegels other performances. (If you like the cello a lot look up her Popper disc on Naxos - great stuff in the romantic tradition).

Regarding the Guilini/Rostropovich recording. I like it, even if PG doesn't. The Von Karajan/Rostropovich is probably better in many ways, but I've always found the DG sonics to be less than ideal and somewhat distracting.

If you don't already have the Herbert Concerto you might also consider YoYo Ma's Dvorak/Herbert duo on Sony. This is an excellent performance and recording of both.
Hey, don't let the lack of an SACD player deter you, the Merc is a hybrid, will play on any CD player. I'm not familiar with most of the recordings you listed above, but I would tend to go for one of the earlier recordings (go by the recording date, not the release date, if you can find that), while Rostropovich was at the height of his powers and before he turned a large portion of his time to conducting. I think the first one on your list would likely be a good one; I like the performance on Erato, but it's apparently out of print.
I would heartliy recommend your #3 choice. Von Karajan's conducting was always, for me, a more dramatic presentation, involving and alive in ways others simply did not achieve. For me he is one of the few conductors that I can almost identify just by listening. Wheather that is good or bad depends on your point of view. For what it is worth Gramaphone rated this one a Gramaphone award winner and a recording of legendary status whereaqs pENGUIN AWARDS IT A rOSETTE its highest compliment to a recording. In any event enjoy the listening.
Well, just to mix it up some more, here are some CDs I have that I can recommend:
1. Dvorak & Walton Cello Concertos, Gregor Piatigorsky, Munch, Boston SO. RCA Living Stereo.
2. Dvorak Concerto & Bruch Kol Nidrei, Lynn Harrell, Ashkenazy, Philharmonia. Decca/London.
3. Dvorak & Elgar Cello Concertos, Pierre Fournier, Szell and Wallenstein, Berlin Philharmonic. Deutsche Grammophon.

These are all famous cellists. But to get away from the big names for a moment, I'd like to second the good words above for Maria Kliegel on Naxos. I haven't heard her Dvorak concerto, but her Naxos version of the two cello concertos by Shostakovich is very fine, and well recorded too. Finally, and perhaps my own favorite, a Swedish BIS CD features Frans Helmerson and the Gothenburg SO under Jarvi. This has excellent sound and is a very likable, rewarding performance, having more the feeling and sound of a live than a studio performance. Worth checking out. Happy listening.
Texasdave, Thanks for the recommendation on Helmerson/Jarvi. Jarvi's Dvorak on Chandos is pretty good, generally speaking, so I'm going to give this a try. :-)
Currently, they might be tough to find on either cd or lp, but I would opt for either Gendron/Haitink/London Philharmonic (Philips) or Harrell/Levine/London Symphony (RCA), especially the Gendron/Haitink, beautifully detailed and recorded.
The Fournier/Szell and old sound Casals/Szell as well as Starker/Dorati are widely considered to be the best. If you want a Rostropovich, the DGG BPO/Karajan SACD is historic (in the period of glastnost). I have a tape live with Cleveland Orchestra and Szell in 1969 that beats the DGG easily.
I know this is an old thread, but I was just listening to this concerto and decided to run a sarch on the 'gon to see what has been said about it

I have heard 3 versions of this concerto and own 2.
I would rate them in this order:
1. Jacqueline du Pre with Daniel Barenboim conducting Chicago Symphony. This is by far my favorite. I own this and I think this is an absolute "must have".
2. Yo-Yo Ma. Very good playing by Ma, recording quality is good too. I like Ma's interpretation.
3. Rostropovich w/Carlo Maria Giulini on EMI.
Now I just got this disc and I am actually surprised that it really did not meat my expectations. I like Rostropovich, especially his performance of Bach suites, but this particular recording, I think, lacks emotion from Rostropovich and even the orchestra. I actually like the way Rostropovich played Saint-Saens concerto that is on the same CD, but I got kind of dissapointed by the Dvorak.
I would normally rate Rostropovich above Ma, but on this particular concerto, I don't know......

I highly recommend Jacqueline du Pre's Dvorak. As a matter of fact, buy the entire "Jacqueline du Pre: The concerto collection" set, because it is amazing! You won't regret it.
Yeah, Ma on Columbia is very, very good. Second movement horns and clarinets are well-recorded, and Ma does a phenomenal job.
Here's another hands-up for Helmerson/Jarvi on BIS. :) This CD is one of my faves, I keep returning to it. This is very engaging, emotional and simply beautiful. Catalog number is BIS-CD-245 and it's a very early CD, all the way from 1984. It still sounds excellent though, no worries!
Haven't listened to recordings of this work enough to have an opinion on which I favor, but because a poster 2 years ago referred to Gramaphone magazine and the Penguin Guide, I feel entitled to pass on the opinions expressed on my favorite source of reviews,, FWIW.

The Rostropovich/Giulini recording was judged the least successful of Rostropovich's many recorded performances, but the fault was attributed to Giulini ("My God, he's boring!"). The Rostropovich collaborations deemed best were those with Karajan, Talich and Ozawa. Historic recordings judged to be great performances but with poor sound are Casals as both soloist and conductor of the Barcelona orchestra and Feuermann/Sargent (both on Naxos historical). Also favorably cited are Ma/Masur (Sony), Helmerson (BIS) and, more recently, Queyras/Belohlavek (Harmonia Mundi). Recordings by famous cellists that were deemed less successful are Ma/Maazel and DuPre/Barenboim. No comment on Kliegel's recording, but the Classicstoday reviewers generally regard her work highly.
Dougmc, now this makes me curious to hear Rostropovich's Dvorak with Karajan on Deutsche Grammophon.

I can understand why du Pre/Barenboim was deemed less successful. Du Pre recorded this concerto late in her career and her health was already declining by that time. Still, not even considering this, I love the recording and enjoy it every time I listen to it.
Dougmc mentioned the Queyras/Belohlavek version. I just recently got this recording. An excellent performance and the recording quality was very high quality as well. I was really taken by the included piano trio, the 'Dumky'. An abundance of riches, IMHO. I've just ordered a similar recording (same crew/orchestra/hall/label) of the VC and its chamber music. I can't wait. :-)
Audiophile 1
The reviewer was somewhat less kind than you in the reasons for the perceived shortcomings of the Du Pre/Barenboim recording. In general, the reviewers at this website think Du Pre had talent but a limited range of interpretive modes and she sometimes experienced technical difficulties. They all agree her recording of the Elgar concerto is great, but also believe that British critics and fans overlook her shortcomings because multiple sclerosis cut short both here career and her life. Here are links to reviews of two recordings she made of the Dvorak concerto:

If you're interested, here is a review of the recording of the Dvorak violin concerto you just ordered:
Doug, thanks!

These guys are a bit harsh.
I haven't heard the live recording of the Dvorak with Celibidache and can't really comment about this recording.
Du Pre was certainly a unique musician and her playing is not to everyone's taste.

Next recording of the Dvorak concerto that I would like to pick up is the Casals on Naxos.
I've not heard of the Q/Belohlavek; with the Czech P. I assume? Thanks for the heads-up on that one guys.

One I've enjoyed for years is on Chandos: R. Wallfisch, Charles Mackerras and London Symphony. Yo can find better cello peformances, but Wallfisch plays very well and the "back-up band" is the most exciting I've heard in this piece. Excellent sound, too. Not too far back in the hall as (older) Chandos is often wont to do.

Steve O.
I picked up Rostropovich/Karajan on DG and everyone who said this version is better than the Rostropovich/Giulini, is 100% correct. These 2 are not even in the same league. Karajan makes this concerto come to life. Giulini is simply boring in comparison.
Thanks for recommending this one!
Worth searching out is that early Rostropovich recording with Talich and the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra mentioned above. Orginally issued on Supraphon, and mono only I believe, I have the US distributed Parliament PLP-139 on vinyl. The sound is somewhat limited, but the performance is a great one by both Talich and Rostropovich -- I return to this recording regularly to recalibrate my listening as to what a truly great performance of this work can sound like.

The Janos Starker performance on Mercury mentioned very early in this thread is an excellent performance by a great cellist and with excellent sonics. The vinyl reissue by Speakers Corner is very worthwhile if you're into vinyl.