“The United States claims Victor Herbert as their own, but this extraordinary cellist, conductor and composer never left his native Ireland in his heart. A CD exploring his lyrical and virtuosic cello concertos was a perfect project for the Ulster Orchestra and an American cellist and conductor.
Herbert’s concertos set a new standard for the cello as a solo instrument, and Mark Kosower plays both concertos on this recording with exquisite beauty, giving full measure to their musical depth, poetry and technical brilliance.”
– JoAnn Falletta, conductor
“Herbert's Cello Concertos are extremely well written for the cello in terms of singing soulfully in the best registers of the instrument and demonstrating how agile and virtuosic a cello can be.
Herbert’s great melodic gift is on full display and is often complemented by sumptuous Wagnerian harmonies. The concertos are intoxicating in their exuberance and are shining beacons of late nineteenth-century cello writing.”
Irish-born Victor Herbert was one of the most celebrated names in American music in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. A cellist, conductor, and composer of light operas, he was also a recording artist. His two Cello Concertos are full of graceful melodies, the First having a songlike slow movement and a spirited Polonaise finale that earned praise at its 1885 première in Stuttgart. The Second Concerto, scored for a large orchestra, is more tightly constructed than the First. It was hearing this work that inspired Herbert’s boss at the National Conservatory in New York, Antonin Dvořák, to write his own great B minor Cello Concerto.
Listen to an extract from Cello Concerto No. 2 in E minor:
II. Lento - Andante tranquillo
Watch the video trailer for this release
Listen to Raymond Bisha's podcast
on Herbert's Cello Concertos
About the Artists
JoAnn Falletta serves as Music Director of the Buffalo Philharmonic and Virginia Symphony and is the Principal Guest Conductor of the Brevard Music Center of North Carolina. She was also Principal Conductor of the Ulster Orchestra from 2011-2014. Falletta has received twelve ASCAP awards and served on the U.S. National Council on the Arts. A champion of American music, she has presented over five hundred works by American composers, including 110 world premières.
Mark Kosower studied with János Starker and Joel Krosnick. As a soloist he has appeared with the Orchestre de Paris, the Rotterdam Philharmonic, the Hong Kong Philharmonic and the Cleveland Orchestra, among others. He has been Principal Cello of the Cleveland Orchestra and a faculty member at the Cleveland Institute of Music since 2010.
The Ulster Orchestra has been at the forefront of musical life in Northern Ireland for the past 50 years and is the region’s only professional symphony orchestra. The orchestra gives around forty concerts each season in the Ulster Hall, and in the Belfast Waterfront, and performs for the BBC Radio 3 invitational concert series and in BBC’s Proms in the Park celebrations each year.
Other recordings featuring JoAnn Falletta and the Ulster Orchestra
“These fine performances by the Ulster Orchestra and JoAnn Falletta reveal…more than craftsmanship and a broadly trained ear. The instrumental writing is superb, often brilliantly so...the sound has an attractively large sound stage with impressive, natural power.”
“Far more than an American footnote in Romanticism, desperately playing catch-up with the European mainstream, John Knowles Paine emerges in these devoted performances as a gifted master in his own right.”
– BBC Music Magazine ★★★★★
“The Ulster Orchestra is in fine form, and JoAnn Falletta seems to have the measure of Moeran’s elusive and eclectic idiom.”
– BBC Music Magazine ★★★★
“…JoAnn Falletta’s work with the orchestra simply can’t be faulted.”
– Audiophile Audition ★★★★
Other recordings featuring Mark Kosower
“Even in the composer’s most demanding passages, there’s no sense that the cellist is being pushed beyond his limits, and his sound remains rich and full throughout the cello’s range.”
“Mark Kosower sports an attractive timbre and he shapes the tunes with incisive rhythm and a nice feeling for the music’s melodic acurves.”
“The extensive technical demands of Ginastera’s music, from difficult extended techniques to awkward shifts, seem effortless to Kosower.”
“Kosower has a marvelously rich sound.”
– St. Petersburg Times