Raphael Wallfisch plays on the Andrew Marr Show, Sunday 1 March

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Review: Raphael Wallfisch plays Weinberg’s Oeuvre for the Cello: An Astounding CD!

Mieczyslaw Weinberg

Cello Concerto Op. 43, Fantasy for cello and orchestra Op. 52, Concertino for cello and orchestra Op. 43bis

Raphael Wallfisch (cello), Kristiansand Symphony Orchestra conducted by Lukasz Borowicz

CPO 555 234

I think – no, I’m actually certain that Mieczyslaw Weinberg’s Cello Concerto is one of his best-known works. Weinberg composed it in 1948 and dedicated it to Mstislav Rostropovich, who also premiered it in 1957. And that was not all: Rostropovich was so convinced of the high quality of the composition that he included the concerto in his repertoire. As he brought the concerto with him to both live performances and recording studios, it is adequately documented indeed.

However, the history behind this work is more complicated than we (or I, in any case) thought. In short: it started with a Concertino for cello and orchestra that remained on the shelf until Rostropovich caught sight of it and more than liked it, which resulted in Weinberg rewriting it to transform it into a real concerto.

You can read all this in the liner notes accompanying Raphael Wallfisch’s new recording of the Cello Concerto. This booklet alone is reason enough to purchase the CD. Moreover, the CD also includes the original Concertino (which now has now been given the number Opus 43bis)! Its first performance dates back only three years ago and, as far as I know, this is its first recoding. What a treat to be able to listen to both ‘versions’ side by side!

And then there is the beautiful, melancholic Fantasy for cello and orchestra. Weinberg composed it in the winter of 1952/53 and the premiere took place on 23 November 1953 – albeit without an orchestra. It was performed by Daniil Shafran (cello) accompanied by Nina Musinyan (piano). The piece lasts only 17 minutes: long enough for a range of emotions to pass by.

The performance by Raphael Wallfisch is unparalleled. The Kristiansand Symphony Orchestra conducted by Maestro Lukasz Borowicz has also done a splendid job. A gem!


While our Halls are Silent: Emma Johnson plays ‘Somewhere over the Rainbow’ in her garden

To the sound of birds and amongst the serenity of nature, clarinetist Emma Johnson brings us ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’


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Pianist, Piers Lane, joins the roster of O’Carroll Artist & Project Management

We are delighted to welcome pianist, Piers Lane, to the roster of O’Carroll Artist & Project Management.  Five times soloist at the BBC Proms in London’s Royal Albert Hall, Piers Lane’s concerto repertoire exceeds ninety works and has led to engagements with many of the world’s great orchestras including the BBC and ABC orchestras; the American, Bournemouth and Gothenburg Symphony Orchestras; the Australian Chamber Orchestra, Orchestre National de France, City of London Sinfonia, and the Royal Philharmonic, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and Warsaw Philharmonic orchestras among many others. Leading conductors with whom he has worked include Andrey Boreyko, Sir Andrew Davis, Andrew Litton, Jerzy Maksymiuk, Marko Letonja, Vassily Sinaisky, Yan Pascal Tortelier and Antoni Wit.

Recent highlights include a performance of Busoni’s mighty piano concerto at Carnegie Hall, premieres of Carl Vine’s second Piano Concerto, written for him, with the Sydney Symphony and the London Philharmonic, and several sold-out solo recitals at Wigmore Hall.  Piers Lane has recently been appointed as the new Artistic Director of the Sydney International Piano Competition of Australia. 

Piers has recorded over sixty CDs on major labels, primarily with Hyperion Records. Awaiting release are another Piers Goes to Town recital disc, concertos by Ferdinand Ries, and a sonata disc with violinist Tasmin Little. Recent releases include concertos by the Australians Alfred Hill and George Boyle, a Franck, Faure and Szymanowski disc with Tasmin Little and works by Borodin, the ninth disc he has recorded with the Goldner String Quartet.

Many composers have written for him and he has premiered works by Brett Dean, Dave Heath, Colin Matthews, Richard Mills, Carl Vine, Benjamin Wallfisch and Malcolm Williamson.