Here’s another fine disc, unavailable for some time, now receiving a new lease of life, and with no significant competition. It’s true that the complete works for cello and orchestra amount to less than half this disc’s duration, comprising as they do a couple of miniatures (the Pezzo Capriccioso and Nocturne) and the evergreen Rococo Variations. But the first point of importance is that the fine Russian cellist Alexander Rudin plays the original version of the score, and not the much more widely available piece of well-meaning butchery by a cellist of chaikovsky’s own time,Wilhelm Fitzenhagen. Fitzenhagen fiddled around with the order of the variations and left one out altogether, as well as somewhat simplifying the composer’s original and strenuous but effective demands upon the soloist. A return to the original reveals what we have been missing in the way of a rather more substantial and coherent work, and there are but one or two rival versions on the market.
In addition, Rudin complements the Variations with the gorgeous interlude from Swan Lake that features a solo cello, as well as an arrangement of the famous Andante cantabile from the First String Quartet. He then conducts this Muscovy orchestra himself in the Serenade for Strings.
Alexander Rudin was born in 1960 and studied with the cello legend Daniil Shafran. His pedigree in this music is impeccable.