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Cello World
Ludwig van Beethoven, Robert Schumann, Claude Debussy
Cello World
Genres: Special Interest, Pop, Classical


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Other artists take note - THIS is how recitals are done.
darragh o'donoghue | 06/28/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"'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."
A Masterpiece
Mark Swinton | 09/09/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"There cannot be many greater British 'cellists than Steven Isserlis. He commissioned and premiered John Tavener's "The Protecting Veil" in 1989, to huge acclaim, and has championed for many years the 'cello music of Saint-Saens and Schumann. His playing is very energetic and intense (a 'cellist friend of mine noted that you can hear his fingers stopping the strings!) and his musicality shines as brightly as a precious jewel.It is therefore very good to find this disc. It covers an eclectic range of styles: a set of Beethoven variations (with harpsichord accompaniment) opens the programme, whereas the last track is a strange and colourful work by Carl Vine with electro-acoustic effects produced by an amplified CD; we are also treated to a set of jazzy variations by Matyas Seiber and the wistful "Song of the Black Swan" by Villa-Lobos. Some tracks show the 'cello as a solo instrument, accompanied (these include "Romances" by Scriabin and Rachmaninov, and a "Nocturne" by Debussy) and otherwise (for instance the intriguing "Chonguri" for plucked strings by Sulkhan Tsintsadze). There is a dazzling display in the form of David Popper's "Elfentanz," but there is also a sober and calm use of the instrument in Tavener's "The Child Lived" (which features fine singing from Felicity Lott and shows how far the ''cello soundscape' has affected the composer since he was first approached by Isserlis). There is even a piece by one of Isserlis' relatives, and to hear him perform it is reminiscent of Julian Lloyd-Webber's recordings of music by his father and brother.Everything about this disc is a joy. The music is good, the performance sparkles, the programme works despite being so varied, and the notes (by Isserlis himself) are witty and delightful to read. Highly recommended!"
Very Enjoyable Listening
Dawn F. Schorr | Baltimore, Md | 02/12/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This cd relaxes me when I am working at the computer or driving the car. It covers a wide range of tempos but always pleases. A good cello lover's collection. Some pieces almost make me cry they have so much feeling."