Michael Vincent, Musical Toronto
After the opening came Elgar’s Cello Concerto – a work composed as a last-ditch effort to turn the composers declining popularity around. The 1919 premiere was a total flop, and largely ignored until cellist Jacqueline du Pré got hold of it in 1960, turning it into a cornerstone of the cello repertoire.
In the hands of young virtuoso cellist Stéphane Tétreault, it was nearly just as impressive. He electrified the four movements with an exceedingly shiny cello, which reflected the halls stage lighting like a Hollywood searchlight. His gaze leaned between Nézet-Séguin and concertmaster Yukari Cousineau, and each exchanged playful and mischievous grins. The tempo was consistent throughout, and intensified the music’s underlying sense of loss. It marked a fairly unusual reading that moved beyond the notes and towards the intricate details of the phrasing.
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