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An original statement

Claudio Bohorquez plays Dvorák,
appreciated by LAWRENCE BUDMEN


During his three year sojourn in America as director of New York's National Conservatory (in many ways the forerunner of the Juilliard School), Antonin Dvorák (1841-1904) was greatly impressed by the playing of the cellist and composer Victor Herbert. When he attended the première performance of Herbert's second Cello Concerto in 1894, Dvorák resolved to compose a major work in that genre. The resultant Concerto in B minor for cello and orchestra Op 104 was Dvorák's final large scale orchestral score. This masterwork has become the most frequently performed cello concerto almost since the day of its creation. Originally composed for the Czech cellist Hanus Wihan, the concerto has been associated with such legendary musicians as Casals, Feuermann, Piatigorsky, Rose, and Rostropovich. When a young artist performs this thrice familiar work in a manner that makes an original statement (at least temporarily rendering the score's performance history irrelevant), there is cause for celebration! That is exactly what the young Berlin based, Peruvian cellist Claudio Bohorquez accomplished in his performance of this mighty score with conductor Hans Graf and the New World Symphony on 7 November 2004 at the Lincoln Theater in Miami Beach, Florida, USA.

Claudio Bohorquez. Photo © J Henry Fair
Claudio Bohorquez. Photo © J Henry Fair

From his first entrance in the opening Allegro, Bohorquez's approach to the score was deeply personal. With a warm, lava-like, deeply reverberant tone, he seemed to really embrace the music. Bohorquez played with a rhapsodic freedom of utterance. His measured, lyrical exposition of the movement's second theme seemed to touch the very soul of the music. In the Adagio ma non troppo, Bohorquez's cello sang the intense, soulful lament of a homesick refugee. Rarely has this movement's principal theme been played so expressively. In the Finale: Allegro molto, Bohorquez's brilliant, razor sharp articulation of the principal theme (at a daringly fast tempo) was bracing. His eloquent, romanticized shaping of the movement's second subject defined beauty itself! A fearlessly virtuosic rendering of the double stops in the cadenza capped a spectacular performance that breathed new life into a repertoire staple! Bohorquez (winner of the Pablo Casals Cello Competition in 2000) is an extraordinary musician! His dazzling technique, glorious tone, and probing musical intellect mark him as one of the stars of a new generation of string players!

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Copyright © 13 November 2004 Lawrence Budmen, Miami Beach, USA


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