on 19 July 2002
This disc is a wonder: passionate playing of impassioned music, resulting in near epiphany for the listener. Tavener's "Veil" is beautifully moving, invoking powerful spiritual resonances in the basest materialists (yours truly) and believers in whatever faith (so far, Chrisitan, Muslim and Jewish friends have been deeply affected by this record). As revivifying as sleeping under the stars and waking to find the world transformed and bejewelled by the morning dew. This is what music is supposed to do.
on 5 December 2011
I bought this CD only for Britten's 3rd cello suite to compliment Rostropovich's recording of 1st & 2nd suites. Isserlis' playing is no less captivating. He digs deep into the heart of Britten's music and gives profoundly musical performance of the 3rd suite.
John Tavener's Cello Concerto 'The Protecting Veil' is also played with genuine emotional involvement and deeply expressive tones. As for the music, I just can not appreciate it even after many play-backs. The opening theme tries desperately to develop and meanders through various harmonies and modulations, but inexplicably fails to capture the inspiration and remains where it started after 40 minutes or so.
That lack of inspiration is more acutely felt, in contrast to Britten's amazing ability to weave rich tapestries of music from a simple theme. I'd rather want all three of Britten's unaccompanied cello suites played by Isserlis on one disc than the only one of them sandwiched between Tavener's curiously earth-bound compositions.