Central Bohemia Symphony Orchestra

Miloš Zelenka

Saša Večtomov, ’cello

Poděbrady Theatre, Czechoslovakia

Recording: 27th May 1973


“On this disc the orchestral sound in the hall is well captured, in good stereo with a lifelike balance and dynamic range…”

“I am glad to have discovered [Saša Večtomov’s] playing, for on this evidence he was a world-class artist … [his] aristocratic playing deserves a hearing, and the disc should certainly be of interest to cellists and collectors of multiple versions of the concerto.”
Boyd Pomeroy, Fanfare 33:5, May/June 2010

MusicWeb International

“As the concerto develops it’s clear that Večtomov, so august a member of the Czech Trio, was certainly a big enough concerto soloist, but one who does not seek to impose his personality onto the music. Instead he illuminates it from within.”
Jonathan Woolf, MusicWeb International, June 2010

American Record Guide

“Večtomov is an excellent cellist … the performances are worth listening to, and of historical importance.”
Carl Bauman, American Record Guide , July/August 2010

International Record Review

“[Večtomov] was one of the finest Czech cellists of his generation but his work as a soloist is not as well known as it deserves to be. That he was a great player is confirmed by the performance of the Cello Concerto here: despite boxy acoustics (a consequence of the concert being given [in] quite a small theatre), this is a memorable account and it is captured in realistic sound. Few of Večtomov’s commercial recordings are available at the moment, making this release particularly valuable.”
Nigel Simeone, International Record Review, June 2012

The Strad

“The Czech Trio’s cellist Saša Večtomov has a real chance to shine in Dvořák’s B minor Cello Concerto … Večtomov plays with a noble dignity that is at its most poetically eloquent during the sublime Adagio slow movement.”

“…considering the concert was recorded virtually on the hoof in an unaccommodating old town hall it has come up sounding remarkably good.”
The Strad, July 2012

Track listingTime
1Antonín Dvořák: Overture: In Nature’s Realm, op 9113' 47"
Antonín Dvořák: Cello Concerto in B minor, op 10437' 46"
2  I Allegro14' 21"
3 II Adagio, ma non troppo11' 01"
4III Finale: Allegro moderato12' 23"
5Josef Suk: A Fairy Tale (Suite from Radúz & Mahulena), op 16*27' 34"
Total time:79' 08"

*Sample extract (control with the Sound Sample tab at the top of the page)

†This track may be heard on the Sampler CD

A tribute to Alexandr (Saša) Večtomov

During the Cold War period I made so many visits to East Germany, Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia that MI5 asked me to accumulate specific information; a request I declined, since my wife’s family lived in Brno.

In those forgotten countries, symphony concerts were very special occasions. The ladies dressed in black-skirted suits with crisp, white, lace blouses and the gentlemen wore woollen suits and sombre ties. No jeans or sneakers were evident.

I had the very great privilege of meeting some of the leading personalities of the day (Karel Ančerl, Václav Neumann, Kurt Masur, Ivan Moravec etc.) and also became familiar with many members of the great orchestras.

In 1973 Ivan Moravec and Saša Večtomov invited my wife and me to attend a Sunday afternoon concert in Poděbrady, which today is an attractive spa town; in 1973 it was a typically neglected, drab, Communist disaster.

I invariably had my recording equipment in the car, and my request for permission to make a recording of the concert was granted.

The small theatre, where the concert was scheduled to take place, was dark, dusty and very neglected. However, for me it was an exciting occasion: Saša was to perform the Dvořák Cello Concerto.

There were no facilities to suit my needs and, in the event, I was hoisted to a position four metres above the stage and accommodated, with my equipment, on a small 2m × 2m platform.

I employed my standard CNSTR technique and was able to undertake a test of the installation during the rehearsal.

Initially I found the sound very boxy and yet, as the performance proceeded, I became accustomed to the lack of designed, venue acoustics, which even favoured the warm tone of Saša’s cello.

I have lived with the recording of that concert for nearly four decades, but determined that one day I would publish it as a tribute to Saša.

—Geoffrey Terry