- Cello Concerto in A minor, Op. 129
- Kol Nidrei, for cello & orchestra, Op. 47
- Schelomo, rhapsody for cello & orchestra (or piano)
Listening to Truls Mørk's performance of the Schumann Cello Concerto, it's easy to forget the stereotype that this composer's late works are troubled and emotionally exaggerated, erratic symptoms of his own impending madness. Neither Mørk nor conductor Paavo Järvi are having any of this; they make a feast out of the concerto's lyricism rather than emphasizing its potentially volatile drama. It's arguably a work that can stand up to either approach, and the refined beauty of Mørk's style -- and of the Stradivarius "Bass of Spain" cello on which he performs -- completely validates his choice of interpretation. The almost vocal quality of his playing comes even more to the fore in the remainder of the program, Max Bruch's Kol Nidrei and Ernest Bloch's Schelomo, both of which are derived from the inspiration of Jewish melodies or texts. The cello's meditative prayer in the Kol Nidrei gives way to more vehement incantations in Schelomo, and while the drama of the latter work can't be denied, warmth and lyrical eloquence are still at the heart of Mørk's performance. With its occasional bombast, Schelomo might seem to call for a bolder modern instrument, but Mørk's Stradivarius holds its own, making the cello's conflicts with the large orchestra all the more poignant. With compelling versions of three of the great works for his instrument, this is yet another highly satisfying album from a musician whose temperament and technique give him a unique place among today's leading cellists.