'Cello World' is a model recital disc, conceived as a recreation of a typical turn-of-the-20th-century programme of short 'encore pieces'. Naturally, the bulk of the pieces privelege the essence of the cello, its deep, meditative, wistful melancholy - Schumann's sleepy 'Intermezzo', Villa-Lobos' evocative 'Song of the Black swan', Dvorak's romantically sad 'Romantic Piece no. 4', Rachmaninoff's rich 'Lied', Scriabin's atypically accessible 'Romance'.
this low-key mood is interleavened with moments of pure play - Beethoven's mischievous 'andante con Variazioni', a delightful tussle between (transcribed) cello and harpsichord that evokes a blithe aristocratic 18th century world rather than the composer's usual Romantic intensity; Popper's impish 'Dance of the Elves', Seiber's lovely Kreisler pastiche 'Dance Suite'.
There a couple of musical jaw-breakers to 'enlighten' the conservatism of the presumed audience - Tavener's sub-Gorecki 'The Child Lived', and the galloping epic 'Inner World' by Carl Vine, actually played by David Pereira, recorded on amplified CD, full of distorted computer echoes, and a lot more exciting and accessible than it should be.
Most cherishable for me is a little Francophone section near the start - Debussy's unexpectedly sprightly '(Nocturne et) Scherzo'; Berlioz's lyrically lilting 'La Captive', sung by Felicity Lott, for today at least the most beautiful song ever written; Faure's characteristically soulful 'Morceau de concours' (written as a Conservatoire sight test!); Leonard's deliciously funny 'Donkey and Driver', the cello playing the obstinate animal; and Saint-Saens' 'The Swan', a watery dream that defies over-familiarity.