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“As a child, I read Piatigorsky’s story of his giving the first performance of the Castelnuovo-Tedesco Cello Concerto with Toscanini, and ever since I’ve nurtured the dream of bringing it back to life. This live recording documents the first professional performances of the composer’s melodic and fiery concerto in more than 80 years, paired with playful and virtuosic freely composed transcriptions of Mozart, Rossini and Ravel made for Piatigorsky and Heifetz, many recorded here for the first time ever.”

Brinton Averil Smith

CASTELNUOVO-TEDESCO, M.: Cello Concerto / Transcriptions
Cello Concerto 1
Transcriptions for Cello and Piano 2

Brinton Averil Smith, Cello • Evelyn Chen, Piano 2
Houston Symphony 1 • Kazuki Yamada 1

Inspired by the personality, prodigious technique and musicality of the cellist Gregor Piatigorsky, Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s Cello Concerto is a work of imposing scale and demanding virtuosity, but also with a rare beauty and warmth of expression. This live recording documents the first professional performances of the concerto in more than 80 years, and is paired with playful and virtuosic freely composed transcriptions for cello and piano of Mozart, Rossini and Ravel that Castelnuovo-Tedesco made for Piatigorsky and Heifetz.

Listen to an extract from the Cello Concerto:
II. Allegretto gentile

Listen to Raymond Bisha's podcast
about this release

About the Artists
Brinton Averil Smith © Sandy Lankford
Cellist Brinton Averil Smith has been lauded by reviewers for his virtuosity and musical ideas rooted in the golden age of string playing. His debut recording of Rózsa’s Cello Concerto received international acclaim, while his recording of Fauré’s chamber music with Gil Shaham was chosen by multiple reviewers as one of the year’s best. Smith’s live YouTube performances of unusual cello works and virtuosic transcriptions have been viewed over one million times.
Evelyn Chen © Bill Fredericks
Pianist Evelyn Chen’s recent engagements include performances at David Geffen and Alice Tully Halls at the Lincoln Center, the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, the Mozarteum in Salzburg and the Tchaikovsky Hall in Moscow. Chen’s recordings have received international critical acclaim, and her recording of Rachmaninov’s Piano Concertos with Leonard Slatkin and the Philharmonia Orchestra became a top-selling classical recording in Britain.
Kazuki Yamada © Marco Borggreve
Kazuki Yamada is principal conductor and artistic director designate of the Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo. In Japan, he holds the titles of principal guest conductor of the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra (from January 2019), permanent conductor of the Japan Philharmonic, music director and chairman of The Philharmonic Chorus of Tokyo and music director of the Yokohama Sinfonietta.
Houston Symphony © Anthony Rathbun
The Houston Symphony celebrates its fourth season with music director Andrés Orozco-Estrada during 2017-18, continuing its second century as one of America’s leading orchestras with a full complement of concert, community, education, touring and recording activities. In 2017, the orchestra received an ECHO Klassik award and a GRAMMY® Award for Best Opera Recording for their live recording for Naxos of Alban Berg’s Wozzeck (8.660390-91) under former music director Hans Graf.
Other recordings of Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s concertante works
Violin Concerto No. 2 ‘The Prophets’
Concerto Italiano

Yang • SWR Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden und Freiburg • de Boer
“Chinese violinist Tianwa Yang confirms
her growing reputation with playing of
great prowess”
The Guardian ★★★★
  Listen to an extract from
Violin Concerto No. 1:
III. Vivo e impetuoso
“Played by the hyperactive pianist and orchestra with such scintillating abandon”
  Listen to an extract from
Piano Concerto No. 2:
III. Vivo et impetuoso
Other recordings featuring the Houston Symphony

Trekel • Schwanewilms • Molomot • Berg
Gietz • McPherson • Ciesinski • Griffin
Schultz • Ryan • Houston Symphony • Graf
“Excellent recorded sound brings us a major symphony orchestra playing in a warm,
lush acoustic.”
  Listen to an extract from Act II, Scene 1:
Was die Steine glänzen?
Lyric Symphony
Three Pieces from the Lyric Suite

Robinson • Trekel
Houston Symphony • Graf
“Hans Graf seems to have found a kindred musical spirit; the synergy between the conductor and orchestra infuses these performances with a marvelous combination of intensity and precision.”
  Listen to an extract from Lyric Symphony:
V. Befrei' mich von den Banden

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