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Anna Clyne • Elgar: Cello Concerto, etc

Inbal Segev (cello); London Philharmonic Orchestra/Marin Alsop (Avie)

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

Anna Clyne • Elgar
Anna Clyne: Dance; Elgar: Cello Concerto in E minor, Op. 85
Inbal Segev (cello); London Philharmonic Orchestra/Marin Alsop
Avie AV2419   54:15 mins

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Israeli-born cellist Inbal Segev’s performance of the Elgar Concerto is poetic, passionate and phrased with a suppleness and spontaneity which make for absorbing listening. The opening movement is palpably yearning from the outset, with little of the stiff upper lip some interpreters favour, and the scherzo is a delight, popping with a sense of mischief and energised agility.

Segev’s Adagio is candidly emotional without ever seeming sentimental, her burnished tone a constant pleasure to listen to. The finale has fire but avoids melodramatics, and Marin Alsop and the London Philharmonic Orchestra provide accompaniment that is full of character. All told, Segev’s performance – highly individual yet never idiosyncratic – competes strongly in a crowded catalogue and repays repeated listening.

The coupling is ambitious – Dance, a five-movement work for cello and orchestra by the English composer Anna Clyne (b1980), commissioned by Segev and premiered by her in America a year ago. Clyne had Elgar’s Concerto in mind as she composed Dance, but it’s generally a more robust, combative piece, flecked with folk music influences (Clyne has Jewish, English and Irish antecedents).

The cello is balanced further forward in both pieces than some listeners will like, and Segev occasionally sniffs obtrusively. But this is a bold and rewarding issue and deserves to be successful.

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Terry Blain