British cellist Steven Isserlis points out that the four composers represented on this disc have a number of things in common – they were born within 30 years of each other, had nationalist tendencies, and all lived at some point in Paris – but the major unifying theme is the fact that Isserlis commissioned all these arrangements of pieces that had originally existed in other formats. The circumstances of the creation of each of the arrangements are fascinating ……Stephen Eddins @ AllMusic
John Holloway and Davitt Moroney have set up a musically rewarding partnership in these brilliantly inventive works, furthermore adding to their programme the two lovely sonatas for violin and continuo long attributed to Bach, and justly so. In both of them they are joined by Susan Sheppard (continuo cello). For these sonatas Moroney has preferred a chamber organ to a harpsichord.
Dimitry Markevitch (1923 - 2002) was a Russian concert cellist, researcher, teacher and musicologist. He studied under Gregor Piatigorsky and founded the Institut de Hautes Etudes Musicales (IHEM) in Switzerland. His brother, Igor Markevitch, was an orchestral conductor.Markevitch rediscovered several important manuscripts, including Westphal and Kellner transcriptions of several Bach Suites, and published his own edition of the Suites, playing all six in recital at Carnegie Hall in New York in 1964. He was one of the first people to champion "authentic" instrumental techniques and played a baroque cello for pieces composed before the 19th century.
Since the repertoire for cello octet is small and consists almost entirely of arrangements and new works, expect Four Winds, Conjunto Ibérico's 2002 release, to be somewhat eccentric and experimental. Leader Elias Arizcuren and his virtuoso cellists seek a happy medium between the intimacy and clarity of a much smaller chamber group, and the richness and power of a full string orchestra; but such a balance is hard to sustain, and their shifting back and forth feels unsteady. In Terry Riley's Requiem for Adam, the ensemble is pulled between extremes of symphonic density and chamber transparency, and this heavy arrangement seems only to distort the dynamics and textures of the original version for string quartet.
This is a very significant historical reissue and Naxos and sound restorer Mark Obert-Thorn deserve warm thanks for bringing it back and cheap (Pearl had issued the same Dvorak in the mid-1990s, together with Feuermann's earlier recording of only the second and third movements of the Haydn Concerto under Frieder Weissmann, but it now sells at hefty prices on the marketplace, The Young Feuermann).