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Saint Saens: Romantic Cello Concerto Vol.5 [Natalie Clein, Andrew Manze] [Hyperion: CDA68002]
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Natalie Clein adds a remarkable collection of Saint-Saëns' music for cello and orchestra to her impressive discography. Clein first came to prominence when she won the BBC Young Musician of the Year award in 1994; it is appropriate that she performs the music of an extraordinary child prodigy.
The first cello concerto has always been one of Saint-Saëns' most popular pieces, Casals choosing it for his London debut in 1905. It is a gloriously playful piece that carries the listener along on a melodic and emotional rollercoaster, from the jaunty opening to the eloquence of the second movement minuet, with a persistent yearning threading its way throughout. The second concerto will be less familiar to listeners. The soloist for whom it was written, Joseph Hollman, was an energetic, muscular player and Saint-Saëns seems here to turn his back on the suave style of the first concerto.
When Saint-Saëns' pupil and friend Gabriel Fauré chose the concerto as a Conservatoire test piece, the composer was duly grateful, but admitted 'it will never be as well-known as the first; it's too difficult'. This it certainly is, with many solo passages, huge leaps and runs that require two staves to accommodate them, and a large amount of doublestopping. Natalie Clein meets these challenges with marvellous technique, musicianship and the passion for which she has become so well known.
Saint-Saens would have approved of this musical champagne. Performance **** Recording **** BBC MUSIC CONCERTO CHOICE --BBC Music Magazine, Oct'14
Natalie Clein is a comprehensively gifted player who performs these pieces with an ideal combination of warm-hearted expressiveness and astonishing technical agility. Warmly recommended. --IRR, Oct'14
Her spirit in this music is matched by that of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra under Andrew Manze, with passion, reflectiveness, architectural sweep and refinement in phrasing and dynamic colouring all finding common ground. Warmly recommended. --Gramophone, Awards issue, 2014
Top Customer Reviews
There is no sense of rosin and hair, (both human and horse!), being sent hurtling after Saint-Saens wonderful opening. Ms. Clein is a much more measured musician who has absolute contol of every single note of this score. There is a very real sense of her allowing the listener to supply some of the emotion required rather than pinning them back in their chair in sheer amazement.
Andrew Manze is superb in providing illumination in the orchestral score. Once again, I find myself hearing lovely moments of orchestration that I'd simply not noticed before. The BBCSSO play superbly and the Hyperion recording is, of course, outstanding.
If you're a fan of Ms. Clein, Saint-Saens or simply enjoy top class music making then snap this disc up immediately.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Of the fillers, the most interesting is the orchestrated version of the late piano trio "La Muse et le Poete." It's a single-movement piece for violin and cello, and lasts about 15 minutes. There's plenty of variety in the single movement, from the rhapsodic to the rhythmically driven, and the music seems not to be over-inflated by the orchestration, which has plenty of color. The violinist Antje Weithaas and Clein interact beautifully, whether in conversation or blending, and the overall impression is very pleasing.