Natalie Clein 'rapturous' in Cello Unwrapped series at Kings Place

16 November 2017

Natalie Clein performed as part of the Cello Unwrapped series at Kings Place in London. As well as a solo concert of Bach, Bloch and Kurtág, she performed varied programmes alongside Julius Drake, Fleur Barron, Barnabas Kelemán and Katya Apekisheva. Read reviews from her critically acclaimed performances.

"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

"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, Telegraph

Natalie Clein returns to London in February 2018 to perform at Wigmore Hall with Henning Kraggerud and Christian Ihle Hadland. For more information about this concert, visit the Wigmore Hall website.

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