Elgar: Cello Concerto; Smetana: Mavlast (exc)
ZuillBailey (cello), Indianapolis SO/Krzysztof Urbánski
Telarc TEL-34030-02 ***
These recordings, taped at concerts in Indianapolis last March, show US cellist Zuill Bailey as a commanding player, one fond of the grand gesture communicated with enveloping fullness of tone. I’m not sure that trumping the emotionalism of Jacqueline du Pré is the way to go in Elgar’s Cello Concerto. To my ears, the approach is too close to the instrumental equivalent of the perpetually sobbing Italian tenor. In the unusual coupling by Smetana, Krzysztof Urbanski, the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra’s 29-year-old Polish music director, takes a sometimes almost full-bloodedly Wagnerian approach to three of the symphonic poems from the cycle Má Vlast (My Homeland) cycle – Vysehrad, Vltava and Sarka. Intriguing.