"she produces an astonishing range of colours and evokes the widest variety of expressive styles"
"Magically deft, soaringly passionate, without any trace of self-indulgence, Clein conjures a full orchestra of colours and textures from her precious Guadagnini cello"
"Natalie Clein fearlessly goes where others have feared to tread for a generation, living each and every phrase with a poetic intensity and emotional immediacy that captures the moment to perfection"
Classic FM Magazine
Described by the Times as 'mesmerising' and 'soaringly passionate', British cellist Natalie Clein has built a distinguished career, regularly performing at major venues and with orchestras worldwide. Her playing has been praised for its “astonishing range of colours and ... wide variety of expressive styles” (Gramophone Magazine).
She records regularly for Hyperion, and has recorded the two Cello Concertos by Camille Saint-Saëns as well as Bloch’s Schelomo and Bruch’s Kol Nidrei with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra to great critical acclaim. A solo disc with works by Bloch, Ligeti and Dallapiccola was released on 27 January 2017 and was awarded the Diapason d'Or, and her latest recital recording of works by Rebecca Clarke, Frank Bridge and Vaughan Williams with Christian Ihle Hadland was released in January 2019. In 2020, she released a live recording of Haydn's Cello Concertos with the Recreation-Orchester Graz on Oehms Classics. She has previously released 3 discs for EMI.
Her performances have taken Natalie Clein to orchestras including the Philharmonia, Hallé, Bournemouth Symphony, City of Birmingham Symphony, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Montreal Symphony, Orchestre National de Lyon, New Zealand Symphony and Orquesta Filarmónica de Buenos Aires. She has performed with conductors including Sir Mark Elder, Sir Roger Norrington, Gennady Rozhdestvensky, Leonard Slatkin, Stéphane Denève and Heinrich Schiff and regularly collaborates with artists including Sergio Tiempo, Håvard Gimse, Anthony Marwood and Leif Ove Andsnes.
A keen recital and chamber performer, she has recently performed Bach’s Complete Cello Suites in London, Southampton and Oxford. With a keen curatorial eye, Natalie Clein also programmed a series of four concerts for BBC Radio 3 at LSO St Luke’s, as well as in her capacity as Artist in Residence at Oxford University. She is the proud artistic director of her own chamber music festival in Purbeck, Dorset.
She regularly works with contemporary composers such as Thomas Larcher, Brian Elias and Dobrinka Tabakova and has also curated and been involved in cross-disciplinary projects with the dancer Carlos Acosta, writer Jeanette Winterson and director Deborah Warner amongst others.
In 2015, Natalie Clein was appointed Artist in Residence and Director of Musical Performance at Oxford University for 4 years, and in 2018 she was appointed Professor of Cello at the Rostock Academy of Music in Germany.
Born in the United Kingdom, Natalie came to widespread attention at the age of sixteen when she won both the BBC Young Musician of the Year and the Eurovision Competition for Young Musicians in Warsaw. As a student she was awarded the Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Scholarship by the Royal College of Music. She completed her studies with Heinrich Schiff in Vienna. Natalie is a Professor at the Royal College of Music London and Music Academy Rostock. She plays the 'Simpson' Guadagnini cello of 1777.
This biography is for information only and should not be reproduced.
Haydn: Cello Concertos
Oehms OC1895 / May 2020
Performances with character and some enjoyable ornamentation from Clein. The slow movement of the C major concerto is another highlight for me, the soulfulness of Clein's playing almost like a singer in an operatic recitative
Andrew McGregor, BBC Record Review
This live recording of Haydn's two cello concertos...immediately grabs the attention for being so very thoroughly of that world. From Clein herself this meant stringing her 1777 Guadagnini with gut strings, using a lighter bow, and creating her own lyrical and period-aware cadenzas...this is complemented orchestrally by crisp, airy support at sprightly tempos
Subtle and elegant performances of Haydn that also thrill...throughout [Clein] shapes phrases with whimsical musicality, introducing winning subtleties of rhythm and expression and a striking variety of bowing and instrumental colour
Robin Stowell, The Strad
The recreation - Großes Orchester Graz under the baton of Michael Hofstetter make a passionate recording, full of colour and energy, so that Clein's performance, as lyrical as it is virtuosic, comes into its own...this disc is quite simply an absolute pleasure!
Jan Krobot, Online Merker
These ebullient pieces are Haydn at his light-hearted best. Wit, humour, melodic invention and lyricism abound, and the brilliant and sparkling playing of Natalie Clein brings out all the beauty of this music. Indeed, her innate musicality and genuine advocacy of these scores are absolutely incomparable, and her effortless virtuosity is consistently at the service of the composer...This is exceptional music-making in great live sound-quality.
Gerald Fenech, Classical Music Daily
It is pleasant to see the unity of thought between the soloist and conductor...it's a spontaneous and imaginative Haydn that we hear in these interpretations, recorded live during the Styriarte Festival in Graz in 2017. What is recorded is the freshness of interpretation, where nothing feels routine and, indeed, displays a radiant joie de vivre, and an almost palpable pleasure in the (re)discovery of these works as we listen.
Patrice Lieberman, Crescendo Magazine
Tchaikovsky Rococo Variations with the English Chamber Orchestra
National Concert Hall Dublin, Jan 2020
Like drowning in honey... Lush, heartfelt swathes of Russian, romantic melodies delivered in the melting-chocolate tones of the ECO made for a delightfully indulgent evening. The addition of star cellist Natalie Clein just added to the sumptuous gorgeousness of this music-making feast... Pouring her heart and soul into the music, Clein wooed us all with her elegance of phrase and beauty of tone. She projected her line with ease over the ECO, oozing confidence and musicality while nailing the intonation of the high notes with laser-like accuracy. In the lively final Allegro vivo variation, she attacked with vim and vigour, energy rippling through the small orchestra and beyond. It was a performance of effortless virtuosity, deep musicianship and sensitive partnership.
Andrew Larkin, Bachtrack *****
Charlotte Bray 'The Certainty of Tides' cello concerto world premiere with Aurora Orchestra
Kings Place, Dec 2019
Natalie Clein, with powerful, eloquent and full-blooded tone is offset by a string orchestra that interacts with the solo line in discussions plangent with expression and spangled with pizzicato
Jessica Duchen, The Arts Desk
Les Étoiles with Ruby Hughes, Julius Drake and Matan Porat
Kings Place, Oct 2019
[The Bosmans Cello Sonata], a work of grand romantic gesture surely new to all of us, was played with characteristic passion and compelling authority by Clein.
Fiona Maddocks, The Guardian ****
Clein, Hughes and Drake perfectly caught the element of whimsy and were equally in rapturous communion in the autumnal op. 91 songs of Brahms.
Barry Millington, Evening Standard ****
[In Debussy's cello sonata] Clein and Porat gave us an intense cello line supported by a strong piano, there was a flexibility to their performance with strong feeling for the quickly changing moods of the sonata... the performance was quixotic and quicksilver, completed in the delightfully changeable finale, fast and vivid with a real sense of joy... The new songs by Judith Weir received a fine performance from Hughes, Clein and Drake, bringing out the quirky and elliptical nature of Weir's subtle music... Finally we heard Brahms two Opus 90 songs. For the opening song, the mellow chestnut of Clein's flowing cello part contrasted finely with the silvery elegance of Hughes vocal line, ably supported by Drake, to create something rather light-textured and touching.
Planet Hugill ****
Saint-Saëns Cello Concerto No. 1 with the Royal Northern Sinfonia
Sage Gateshead, September 2019
Having recorded the work and played it countless times, Clein is steeped in the music. She took nothing for granted, pouring her soul into an absorbing rendition and putting her stamp on it from its jaunty opening. In the middle section, Clein lovingly drew out a yearning song, threading it through a lilting dance from the strings, before negotiating a thrilling roller coaster of emotions in a scorching molto allegro.
Gavin Engelbercht, The Northern Echo
Beethoven Triple Concerto with Insula Orchestra
Warner Classics - Erato; April 2019
The solo team in the Triple Concerto, too, are extremely fine. …Violinist Alexandra Conunova and cellist Natalie Clein, who use gut strings and are sparing with vibrato, have impeccable intonation.
Andrew Farach-Colton, Gramophone
The Concerto soloists - Alexandra Conunova, David Kadouch and Natalie Clein - make light of the work
Hugh Canning, The Times
Musica Viva tour with Katya Apekisheva
Australia Feb-March 2019
Clein's dazzlingly virtuosic passagework enlivened Bloch's Suite No. 1 for solo cello while the duo's richly coloured timbre created a soulful account of From Jewish Life
Murray Black, The Australian
A near-flawless evening of 24-carat music-making... The world premiere of Natalie Williams' The Dreaming Land was an effortlessly elegant reimagining of the sonata form as a delicately hued musical landscape...The evening's spectacular highlight: Rachmaninoff's ferociously demanding Sonata in G Minor. From the first bar it was an astounding, boundless performance, worth its weight in gold
Maxim Boon, SMH.com.au ****1/2
Clein has a compelling, earthy sound, with a smouldering edge to it, which perfectly suited this program, deeply rooted in folk music. Combined with Apekisheva’s precise, gleaming piano, this was a concert of rich textures, finely spun melodies and a refined, understated beauty
Angus McPherson, Limelight Magazine ****
[Clein and Apekisheva] projected the structure of Clarke's Sonata (1919, and originally for viola) with clarity and spirit in the first movement, quicksilver virtuosity in the second and reflective cogency in the third. The concert's finest playing came in the deeply idiomatic expressiveness of Bloch's From Jewish Life which, with the same composer's Suite No. 1 for Solo Cello, framed Clarke's piece
Peter McCallum, Sydney Morning Herald
Natalie Clein's playing is unegotistical yet always engaging... Lyrical without sentimentality, [Vaughan Williams' Six Studies in English Folksong' allowed space for the relaxed side of her very special tone, which has so much colour... The interplay between Clein and Apekisheva [in Beethoven's C major sonata] was a delight from start to finish
Nicholas Routley, Australian Stage
An enchanting experience...Clein demonstrates the vocality of the cello, its almost human qualities of expression, with great flair. She is keenly aware of the musician’s contract with the audience, the trust that each must fulfil in bringing about satisfying engagement. The proficiency and passion with which Clein and Apekisheva interpret a wide-ranging selection of pieces proves immensely satisfying... A highlight was [Rebecca Clarke's Viola Sonata], a dense and controlled performance that left this reviewer wanting more
Steve Evans, IN Daily
A varied but beautifully balanced program... Natalie and Katya work brilliantly together and the evening has been a tremendous success, with amazing examples of energised virtuosity from both players throughout the concert.
Adrian Miller, TheClothesLine.com.au
Bridge, Clarke & Vaughan Williams
Hyperion CDA68253; released January 2019
The [Clarke viola sonata] reveals several new facets when played on the cello, the principal one being the new depth and physicality of the sound world. Clein makes the most of that, with a tonal palette that ranges from thick charcoal-black to muted pastels, beautifully controlled and shaped in the service of Clarke's ardent musical narrative...throughout this disc Clein and Hadland never stint on commitment...In the second movement of Bridge's wartime Cello Sonata, the transition from uneasy calm to jagged, angst-ridden turmoil and on to soaring, impassioned lyricism is handled with poetry and passion. Clein is never afraid to let you hear the rasp of bow on string.
Richard Bratby, Gramophone
Clein delivers some inward playing [in Clarke's Cello sonata] and she and Hadland work up to a terrific climax; the Allegro is suitably rhapsodic and there is a pleasing effect when the big theme returns towards the end.
Tully Potter, Classical Source
This is a fine performance [of the Clarke], an excellent companion for the Bridge, and the extra pieces of Vaughan Williams—his Six Studies in English Folk Song—are the icing on the cake.
BBC Record Review
The cello gives Clarke’s Sonata a different character, and Clein offers a fine account in this recording... growling into the low register, the double-stops thrumming with a power that can’t be achieved on a viola... Clein wields her cello with subtlety – hear the transcendent delicacy that finishes the first movement, or the exquisitely impassioned intensity of the finale... This is a charming disc with a folky, salon feel at times... Clein’s heartfelt advocacy makes it a satisfying listen all round.
Angus McPherson, Limelight Magazine ****
Natalie Clein proves a dramatic, wholehearted interpreter of the cello version of Rebecca Clarke’s Viola Sonata...Their reflective, inwardly musing passages are just as powerfully phrased and just as compelling. Legato is ardently explored, the folkloric pizzicati in the central fast movement ricocheting with great youthful panache, and in the bipartite finale – Adagio then Allegro – she vests that opening section with a lovely range of colours before unleashing renewed passion. There’s real kinship at work here, performers and work at one; the sonata positively sizzles in this performance.
Jonathan Woolf, MusicWeb International
[Rebecca Clarke's Viola Sonata] is a dense but emotionally intense work, and the gutsy cello sound seems to fit the material equally, as does the viola, but with a different flavour...Cellist Natalie Clein and pianist Christian Ihle Hadland have plainly taken the time to get to the emotional cores of these works.
James Manheim, AllMusic - Editors Choice ****
Clein and pianist Hadland play with the requisite force and lyrical intensity that [Clarke's Cello Sonata] demands...a very satisfying disc of superbly performed and recorded British chamber music.
Robert Moon, Audiophile Audition ****
Natalie Clein and Christian Ihle Hadland lend this darkly passionate, tautly argued music blisteringly eloquent treatment, and they prove to be just as convincing advocates for Frank Bridge's magnificent wartime Cello Sonata (1913-17) – a performance of beguiling sensitivity, sweep and emotional candour worthy to rank alongside those hugely eloquent versions from Rostropovich and Britten (Decca) and Paul and Huw Watkins (Chandos).
Andrew Achenbach, Classical Ear *****
Fundación Beethoven recital with Sergio Tiempo
Teatro Municipal de Las Condes, Chile / 29 May 2018
Clein’s delivery [of the Debussy Sonata] was magnificent from the first note, and Tiempo’s fine and energetic playing contributed to the excellence of the interpretation... The superb interpretation of [Kodaly’s Sonata] left the audience breathless, and captivated for the duration of the 30 minute work [and the] Rachmaninov cello and piano sonata was a triumph... Natalie Clein and Sergio Tiempo, as well as being excellent musicians, had a angelic, magical aura on stage, and a mutual understanding, communicating their musical enjoyment to the audience.
El Mercurio, Jaime Donoso A.
Elgar Cello Concerto with Philharmonia Orchestra
Royal Festival Hall, 10 May 2018
There was certainly a decently populated Royal Festival Hall to hear Natalie Clein’s quite outstanding and refreshingly positive performance... She has a strong, beautiful tone quality and a superb technique, which she used to great effect in a reading that quite avoided the indulgent, slushily sentimental accretions that frequently invade performances of this work, though passion and emotion were certainly present. There was some lovely phrasing in the first movement, but it was a noble reading, well-integrated so that one was always and unusually well aware of the underlying triple rhythm. After a bright, springy rendering of the second movement’s Allegro, ma non troppo section Clein played the Adagio in a serene though deeply-felt manner: there were no over-emotional bulges of phrase and not a hint of sentimentality. Not even the slow, introverted section near the end of the finale tempted Clein to over-indulge emotionally, and as a whole it was an outstanding presentation of the great work.
Alan Sanders, Seen and Heard International
Cello Unwrapped: Solo Bach, Bloch and Kurtág
Kings Place, November 2017
This was a clever programme. [...] Just as this music [Kurtág's Signs, Games and Messages] needs to be carefully weighed and measured, so Clein applied the same balance to the mesmeric sarabande of Bach’s Suite No 5, in so doing deftly cutting across the centuries between the German baroque icon and a Hungarian modernist master. [...] Clein’s rich tone and generous legato [...] she didn’t put a foot wrong in the Fifth, grandly unwinding the twisty prélude, supplying two meaty gavottes, and, with understated elegance, coming to a halt in a spry, genteel gigue.
Neil Fisher, The Times
Tre Voci; Cello Unwrapped at Kings Place, London
Kings Place’s year-long exploration of the cello has been full of surprises, which have not so much ‘unwrapped’ as re-invented the instrument. That requires a certain kind of player, who’s happy not to be centre-stage all the time, and is eager to shake up the normal concert format.
Natalie Clein is just such a cellist. In last night’s concert she reinvented the cello as a wordless voice, singing rapturously alongside mezzo-soprano Fleur Barron [...] Clein’s cello spun a rapturous counterpoint. Rapture was a mood struck often during the evening. It was there in the 2nd of Michael Berkeley’s Three Rilke Sonnets, where voice and cello [...] mirrored the tender feeling of loss in the poem. The ending, where cello and voice seemed to resist the urge to meet on the same note, and then finally yielded to it, was the most intense moment of the evening. No less moving were the three songs by John Tavener for voice and cello, [...] and Tavener’s solo cello piece Threnos. To succeed these pieces need a beautifully sustained line and hair-line accuracy of tuning, and the performers gave us both.
But it wasn’t all mystical rapture. In Janáček’s Fairytale Clein found an engaging tone of naïve simplicity, and in a movement from a Bach Cantata she showed that the humble role of playing a cheerfully jazz-like ‘walking bass’ can also be eloquent, in its own way.
Ivan Hewett, Kings Place
Clein’s immersion in the Romantic and rhetorical arguments was apparent: her cello quite literally ‘sang’, the sound beautifully fresh and bright, the extended span of the phrases shaped with naturalness. The differentiation of the weight she applied to the bow stroke over different registers was both astonishingly detailed and obviously instinctive and unmannered. Clein’s playing is quite ‘introspective’: that’s not to suggest that she does not communicate – the tone is often searing and intense – but her sound is quite restrained, and she relishes the small details. In a venue of the dimensions of Kings Place, such nuances register tellingly.
Claire Seymour, Seen and Heard International
Perm, May 2017
Natalie Clein played expressively and sweepingly, not constraining herself in movements, completely absorbed in the music she performed, and she transmitted her interest to the listeners [...] Clein clearly could draw listeners into this new world.
Irina Makalovskaya, Diaghilev Festival Press Service
Located on opposite sides of the hall in the House of Diaghilev, each of the musicians defended their region and their manner of performance. The restrained, smooth sound of Baroque cello [from] Cocset was answered in a romantic, sensual and open execution by Clein.
Polina Dorozhkova, Diaghilev Festival Press Service
Bloch, Ligeti & Dallapiccola: Suites for solo cello
Hyperion CD 68155
A wonderful and compelling recording by Natalie Clein demonstrating the art of cello-playing at its most intimate – physical, lyrical and beautifully recorded
Martin Cullingford, Editor's Choice, Gramophone
Cellist Natalie Clein keeps the expressive range within autumnal parameters: melancholy, lightly fretful, inward and dignified. [...] Clein plays intimately, as if for herself alone. But there is nothing hermetic about her approach. Gently, insistently, quietly, she draws the listener into Bloch’s music and the results are thoroughly absorbing. [...] Clein is every bit as commanding in the formidably difficult Dallapiccola as she is retiring in the Bloch, and her performance of the Adagio theme in the Ligeti is four minutes of pure, concentrated beauty. This lovely disc reveals the cello as a kind of private sketch pad, or journal, capturing big emotions on a small scale, with a poetic concentration in sharp contrast to the larger, more furious musical gestures of the post-war moment.
Philip Kennicott, Gramophone
Clein is full of conviction in all of it, with fearless attack and haunting quiet passages.
Kate Molleson, The Guardian
For Ernest Bloch, at the end of his life, the three Suites for solo cello recall Bach in their mix of lyricism and declamation, wholeheartedly conveyed by Clein. From other quarters Luigi Dallapiccola’s Ciaccona, intermezzo e adagio, written in 1945, is riven with a hard-edged desolation. The young Ligeti’s Sonata for solo cello, from 1948/53, looks ahead optimistically with beauty and ebullience.
Richard Fairman, Financial Times ****
Expressive, and impressive, solo programme from the British cellist [...] These are meticulous and carefully cultivated performances [of Bloch’s Cello Suites], captured with an intimacy of recorded sound that matches the private interior world Clein is hearing. The tenebrous contours of the Andante tranquillo second movement of Suite no.2 have been internalised and we witness a deep communion between player and composer; and I’m much admiring of the uncountable rhythmic nuances she lends the opening movement, Allegro deciso, of Suite no.3, where she skids notes across the pulse [...] Dallapiccola’s Ciaccona, Intermezzo e Adagio affords her the opportunity to dig deep inside her impressive arsenal of technique. Nervy fragments of melody spill out of Clein’s fulsomely balanced block chords at the start – this proves a daredevil performance.
Philip Clark, The Strad
UK tour with the Czech National Symphony Orchestra
Natalie Clein’s riveting account of Shostakovich’s First Cello Concerto, a masterly performance characterised by understatement, aphorism and style.
Michael Tumelty, The Herald ****
It’s a special thing to have Shostakovich’s caustic first cello concerto played with uncommon lyricism by the marvellous Natalie Clein, who brought an unusual sense of smoothness to the outer movements, with an unsettling keening sound to the lament of the second movement. The cadenza was extraordinary, Clein playing as though the cello was an extension of her own body, and almost as arresting was the ghostly sound she achieved at the very top of her register at the end of the Moderato.
Simon Thompson, Seen and Heard International
Bach Cello Suites at St George’s, Bristol
Natalie Clein played the first three of the solo cello suites and, as the opening prelude of the G major suite unfolded, the Bach spell was cast anew. Clein treated the music in heightened conversational fashion, articulating the component voices and their different inflections, creating a sense of continuing narrative.
Rian Evans, The Guardian
Three Choirs Festival 2015 with pianist Håvard Gimse
Holy Trinity Church, Hereford
Natalie Clein is famous for her warmth of tone, and the audience at Hereford’s Holy Trinity church were not let down in this respect. She exudes confidence and flair.
Spencer Allman, Hereford Times
Music at Paxton with Håvard Gimse
Paxton House, July 2015
Debussy’s Sonata in its centenary year was spilling over with expression from Clein [...] Her robust, full-on sound brought warm immediacy and deep colour to Debussy’s lyrical lines [...] Clein’s playing was heart-wrenching in Rachmaninov’s G minor Sonata, sensual in the sumptuousness of its lush romance.
Carol Main, The Scotsman ****
Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra Benevolent Concert
The Lighthouse, Poole in May 2015
Natalie Clein's performance was spine tingling. Her interpretations of the music's contours and nuances were utterly magical as she demonstrated the incredible range and emotional beauty of her instrument.Her seamless partnership with the BSO and clear enjoyment were a joy to behold.
Stephanie Hall, Bournemouth Daily Echo
Saint-Saëns Cello Concerto No. 1 with the St Petersburg Symphony Orchestra
Usher Hall, Edinburgh in February 2015
featured soloist Natalie Clein worked wonders to boost energy levels before the interval with a virtuosic, highly expressive rendition of the Saint-Saëns
Martin Kershaw, heraldscotland online
Singapore National Youth Orchestra / Saint-Saëns Cello Concerto No. 1 in A minor
Esplanade Concert Hall, Singapore in November 2014
Anyone who has heard her stunning CD recording of Camille Saint-Saens's two cello concertos will attest that she is even more impressive in live performance [...] In SSaint-Saëns's First Cello Concerto In A minor, the tone she coaxed from her 1777 "Simpson" Guadagnini was rich and full-bodied, immediately putting her mark on the single-movement work performed without breaks. The virtuosic and fast hairpin turns encountered at the beginning and close of the concerto were met with lightning reflexes, requisite of this showpiece, a testament to her finely-honed technique. Even in the quieter bits, her playing was always transcendent and unfailingly beautiful.
Chang Tou Liang, The Straits Times
World Premiere of Tavener’s Flood of Beauty
September 2014, Barbican, London
An extended cello solo separated each of these five cycles, and without doubt these meditative passages, played exquisitely by Natalie Clein, provided the highlight of the piece. The slow-moving rhapsodising, beginning in the highest register and gradually descending to the lowest, [...] provided blissful relief and refreshment from the overwhelming sound of the poem’s setting.
David Fay, Bach Track
... the cello solos that end each of the five cycles [were] beautifully played by Clein.
Andrew Clements, The Guardian
... the soloists [...] pitted themselves tirelessly against the combined Britten Sinfonia, Britten Sinfonia Voices and New London Chamber Choir.
John Allison, The Daily Telegraph
Moscow Philharmonic / Yuri Simonov, Yuri Botnari / Shostakovich Cello Concerto No.1
May 2014 Tour
Interspersed was Shostakovich’s First Cello Concerto, delivered with unremitting energy and impassioned line-unfolding by soloist Natalie Clein.
Clein, for all her young age still, is becoming the elder stateswoman of the cello, much as Mitsuko Uchida has become of the piano. I approve wholeheartedly. She has such a strength of tone, such bowing dexterity, such insight into whatever she is interpreting. Her Elgar is very special; I must hear her in Dvorak again soon.
soloist Natalie Clein immersed herself completely in the emotional fabric of this evocative work. Clein’s winning technique and approach that was both fierce and tender, made for a searingly beautiful performance.
Natalie Clein entered on the thrilling roller-coaster ride with relish, plunging into the depths of despair one moment and exploding with dance-like, manic energy the next.
Saint-Saëns (Cello Concertos Nos 1 & 2 and other works by Saint-Saëns)
BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra/Andrew Manze/Antje Weithaas (violin) (Hyperion CD 68002)
It is the light airiness of Natalie Clein's approach that works so well here [...] she finds a golden timbre and fleet elegance [...] This is as close as you'll get to musical champagne; I've a feeling Saint-Saëns would have approved [...] Clein conjures magic [...] Clein's disc comes highly recommended.
Helen Wallace, BBC Music Magazine **** Concerto Choice
...this Hyperion programme has much going for it, not least in that it features the mature, sensitive artistry of Natalie Clein [...] In La muse et le poète Clein is in intimate conversation with violinist Antje Weithaas, and the shorter pieces testify both to her lissom technique and to her lyrical allure.
Geoffrey Norris, Gramophone
Hyperion’s Romantic Cello Concerto series reaches its fifth release with this adventurous programme devoted to music by Saint-Saëns. These, from Natalie Clein and the BBC Scottish Orchestra on top form, are certainly memorable crisp and nicely nuanced performances and are comparable with the best.
Ian Lace, Musicweb International
The Saint-Saëns CD is full of beautiful performances. There is a real sense of chamber music playing throughout, which is part of Clein’s conception of the composer’s First Concerto.
Ariane Todes, Sinfini Music
A new recording by Natalie Clein is always an event [...] and this one finds her on top form. [...] this is exciting stuff with a real sense of happening [...] Her C-string melody [...] is followed by the sweetest ascending harmonic scale I have ever heard [...] The beauty and freedom of Clein’s playing in the first movement’s three solo episodes and in the poignant Andante sostenuto is matched by her technical confidence and strong tone. The Allegro appassionato is dazzlingly thrown off.
Janet Banks, The Strad
This is a first-class recording, the fifth in Hyperion’s series of Romantic cello concertos. Anybody wanting both Saint-Saëns’s Cello Concertos and La muse et le poète really doesn’t need to look any further. Natalie Clein is a comprehensively gifted player who performs these pieces with an ideal combination of warm-hearted expressiveness and astonishing technical ability. [...] Clein plays it [the Second Cello Concerto] with all the requisite vigour and virtuosity and Manze and his orchestra are outstanding partners. [...] The Performance [of Saint-Saëns’s double concerto for violin, cello and orchestra] by Antje Weithaas and Clein is just about ideal.
Nigel Simeone, International Record Review
Contemporary British cello virtuoso Natalie Clein traverses the music of Saint-Saens with easy aplomb and lyrical freshness.
Gary Lemco, Audiophile Audition ****
British cellist Natalie Clein, a former BBC Young Musician of the Year, crafts a gorgeous tone above all the surface glitz and display [...] Clein is joined by German violinist Antje Weithaas in The Muse and the Poet (1910), a lovely double concerto in all but name. Here, both instruments resonate as one sublime whole.
Chang Tou Liang, The Straits Times *****
Wigmore Hall, Beethoven & Britten - with Alasdair Beatson
She is a graceful, lyrical player with a sound like a fine-spun silver thread. Yet I was both impressed and emotionally moved by her playing of [Britten's] third suite. Clein was alert to every passing nuance.
Richard Morrison, The Times****
Clein really made the cello sing [...] Clein and Beatson were as-one in their interpretation.
Ben Hogwood, Classical Source
Bloch & Bruch works for Cello & Orchestra
BBC Scottish Symphony / Ilan Volkov, Hyperion CDA67910
Natalie Clein encompasses all the work’s varied character and demands while retaining an air of polish in her playing. Her chords in the vigorous, energetic third section, for example, remain full and rounded, without appearing over careful. The Bruch, too, receives a lovely performance, with Clein bringing out the different colour of each of the cello’s strings and the orchestra effecting most beautifully the transition from sombre to heavenly.
Duncan Druce, Gramophone, September 2012
A breathtakingly beautiful dialogue between Natalie Clein & the BBC Scottish Symphony conducted by Ilan Volkov. Clein manages to explore the profound depths of [Bloch's Schelomo] and all its vocal expressivity without exaggeration or hyperbole and the orchestra's response feels minted in the moment rather than pre-planned. I'm not sure I've heard a more convincing modern account on disc. An immaculate recording
Andrew McGregor, BBC Radio 3 CD Review, 04 August 2012
Natalie Clein gives an unexaggerated performance pursuing the music's linearity and playing from the heart while conjuring some appropriate dark tone from her instrument. It's one of the most persuasive performances of [Schelomo] that I have heard. Throughout, the recording is as vivid as the music. An outstanding release.
Colin Anderson, International Record Review, 11 July 2012
You cannot wish to hear a clearer, lovelier investigation of Bloch’s Jewish decade.
Norman Lebrecht, La Scena Musicale, 15 July 2012
Philharmonic Hall Liverpool, Elgar: Cello Concerto
National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain / Paul Daniels, 5 January 2012
Natalie Clein was the declamatory yet lyrical soloist in the Elgar, a performance that was admirably unsentimental.
Tim Ashley, The Guardian, 06 January 2012
Kodaly works for Cello & Piano
Hyperion Records CDA67829
she produces an astonishing range of colours and evokes the widest variety of expressive styles. I find it admirable, too, how she's able, in the recording studio, to maintain so much of the excitement and directness of live performance. Music of this rhetorical character demands a fine sense of timing; Clein demonstrates this
Duncan Druce, Gramophone Magazine. 'Editor's Choice' August 2010
Magically deft, soaringly passionate, without any trace of self-indulgence, Clein conjures a full orchestra of colours and textures from her precious Guadagnini cello.
Geoff Brown, The Times, 12 June 2010
…extremely impressive, both in the impassioned rhapsodies of the first two movements, and in the array of folk tunes that are paraded in the ferociously challenging finale.
Andrew Clements, The Guardian, 27 May 2010
Zoltan Kodály’s Sonata for solo Cello represents one of those daunting summits that cellists feel ineluctably drawn to conquer, and Natalie Clein does so here with terrific passion, piquancy and technical accomplishment.
Geoffrey Norris, The Telegraph, 25 June 2010
Clein goes between and behind the notes to reveal a multi-layered sound world of unsettling semantic complexity. In her expert hands, Kodaly's approximations of fife, clarinet and cimbalom come startlingly to life, making the explosive music that surrounds them feel all the more intimidating.
Natalie Clein’s Repertoire List
Solo Suites No.1 - 6
Cello Concerto Op.22
Cello Sonata No.3 in A major Op.69
Cello Concerto in G major G.480
Double Concerto in A minor Op.102
Symphony for Cello & Orchestra Op.68
Kol Nidrei Op.47
Cello Concerto in B minor Op.104
Cello Concerto in E minor Op.85
Violin Sonata (transcr. for cello and piano)
Canticle of the Sun
Cello Concerto Op.67
Concerto in C Major Hob.VIIb:1
Cello Concerto in D minor
Variations on a Slovak folksong
Several trios and quartets
Concerto Grosso No.1 for 3 Cellos & Orchestra
Sinfonia Concertante Op.125
Sonata in G Minor Op.19
Adagio con Variazioni for Cello & Orchestra
Cello Concerto No.1 in A minor Op.33
Cello Concerto in A minor Op.129
Cello Concerto No.1 in E flat major Op.107
Flood of Beauty
Variations on a Roccoco Theme Op.33 (original version)
Two Early Pieces (1899)