Natalie Clein‘s latest recording for Hyperion was released in late January 2017 and features works for solo cello by Bloch, Dallapiccola and Ligeti all written in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War.
This extraordinary addition to her discography effectively captures the desperate, yet hopeful nature of life shortly after the war had ended and has been described as “compelling” and “wonderful”. Crowned with a Diapason d'Or in May 2017, the recording received excellent reviews and also features in The Guardian and the February 2017 edition of Gramophone where it is also named Editor’s Choice:
“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
"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
“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 ****
To listen to several excerpts from the recording, please click here.
For more information, please visit Hyperion’s website.