Broadcast on Third Programme
William Pleeth, vlc / BBC Scottish Orchestra / Berthold Goldschmidt
Goldschmidt’s three concertos, for cello, clarinet and violin, were all completed during the early 1950s and reveal an innate understanding of their respective solo instruments. The Cello Concerto was written for William Pleeth, but the origins of the work stretch back to Goldschmidt’s student years when he became a good friend of the cellist Emanuel Feuermann, for whom he wrote a sonata for cello and piano. Feuermann died in 1942 and the score was subsequently lost in the confusion and upheaval of the Second World War, but Goldschmidt used themes and ideas from it as the basis for his Concerto some twenty years later. Unsurprisingly, given the circumstances of its composition, it is a prevailingly elegiac work, but the soloist has plenty of opportunity for virtuoso display, particularly in the fireworks of the whirling Tarantella finale. A recent review described it as "one of the great cello concertos, and far too rarely performed". Cellists with the work in their repertoire include David Geringas, Ramon Jaffé, YoYo Ma and Raphael Wallfisch.