Natalie Clein has released a disc of two Cello Concertos by Camille Saint-Saëns for Hyperion with the BBC Scottish Symphony and Andrew Manze, which makes a remarkable addition to her impressive discography. She has been receiving many praising reviews from the critics:
“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
“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
“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
“Soloist Natalie Clein is in fine form, lithe and athletic. [in the Second Concerto] Clein takes its formidable demands in her stride [...]in the finale, Clein is at the top of her game, the virtuosic cadenza dispatched with an ideal balance of sensitivity and bravura.”
For more information on the CD, please visit Hyperion’s website.
To read about how Natalie was able to record such a highly praised CD whilst seven months pregnant, visit the Sinfini Music website for a witty and insightful interview that explores the challenges she faced and the positive changes in her playing.
On Sunday 28th September at the Barbican Centre and live on BBC Radio 3, Natalie joined the Britten Sinfonia in the world premiere of the late Sir John Tavener’s last major concert work. Conducted by Martyn Brabbins, Flood of Beauty is a setting of a Sanskrit poem through which Tavener returned to his perennial theme of the Divine Being. As Bach Track writer David Fay described how Natalie’s “exquisitely played” solos “provided the highlight of the piece”, it has recently been an exciting time for her.