Dvořák wrote this last of his solo concertos in New York City while serving a third term as director of the National Conservatory of Music of America. Titan that he was, he had to keep up his guard against the original soloist Hanuš Wihan, who had tweaks of his own in mind. Dvořák sent the score to his publishers with the following stipulation: “I give you my work only if you will promise me that no one—not even my friend Wihan—shall make any alteration in it without my knowledge and permission.” Today, not even so determined an individualist as the French German cellist Nicolas Altstaedt, here in his NSO debut, would dream of such monkey business. Edward Gardner conducts, opening the program with Grieg’s Lyric Suite and closing with Nielsen’s Symphony No. 4, a dramatic tour de force commonly labeled “The Inextinguishable.” —M.G.
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