This is a simply superb piece of music-making by Isserlis and the orchestra. I'm rather ashamed to say that prior to purchasing the disc I had heard of, but not heard, Bloch's Schemolo. When I did hear it I was stunned. This is a masterpiece. Anyone who treasures late-Romantic or tragic post-Romantic music should listen. Bloch's piece is based on texts from Eccliasticus and its subject is Solomon and the tragedy of wisdom. Isserlis adds to the enjoyment by providing detailed and comprehensive notes to the piece so you can hear and understand every nuance. And every nuance is audible in this triumph of recording technology.Isserlis, as those who know his playing will know, injects into the performance a personal emotional commitment that is almost tangible. This is music which clearly touches Isserlis personally and in this performance he bears his soul for all to see.
The Frank Bridge work, Oration, is one which Isserlis has recorded previously. His interpretation has deepened and his intimate knowledge of Bridge's sometimes difficult aesthetic makes what can be a muddled piece a coherent and moving whole with excellent sound production again. Isserlis believes that the ending of the Bridge is among the greatest music written for the cello. With Isserlis's excellent notes again to guide the listener the Bridge becomes transparent and wholly accessible.
The last work on this CD is by Isserlis's long time friend, Stephen Hough, whose music is inspired by a poem of the Great War by Herbert Read. It was originally written for bassoon and orchestra but here it has found a new lease of life in a transcription for cello. The long melodic lines play to the cello's strength as does the sense of melancholy and loss which permeate the work.
There is little more to say other than this is an outstanding piece of committed music-making by an artist at the peak of his powers. Anyone with the slightest interest in music with depth and emotion should not hesitate to purchase; they will not be disappointed.