Mustonen, Hough, Isserlis, H Blake, Mendelssohn, Fauré, Poulenc, Bridge, Dyson, Sibelius, Beach, Boccherini

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Beach,Boccherini,Bridge,Dyson,etc,Faure,H Blake,Hough,Isserlis,Mendelssohn,Mustonen,Poulenc,Sibelius
LABELS: BIS
ALBUM TITLE: Children’s Cello
WORKS: Various
PERFORMER: Steven Isserlis (cello), Stephen Hough (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: CD-1562

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With a household that pulsates to the glorious tones of the cello (Isserlis’s son is also a cellist) there’s clearly much material for this volume. The booklet notes manifest an obvious autobiographical vein – Isserlis’s predilection for Romantic Schumanesque items never far from the surface. There are some contemporary compositions, however, including attractive works by Gavin Bryars and Olli Mustonen, as well as imaginative contributions from both Hough and Isserlis. Alongside some lesser-known gems such as the poetic Lulu waltz by Sibelius, we have some well-worn chestnuts by Squire, Bridge, Carse and the fiery and bravura-styled Requiebros by Cassado. Inspiring performances are virtually a foregone conclusion with this fine duo partnership: highlights here include a sumptuous rendition of Fauré’s Berceuse, and a deliciously piquant performance of Poulenc’s Serenade. Yet if one of the intentions of this warmly recorded album is to inspire young cellists, the choice of repertoire seems a little staid, largely ignoring folk-inspired, dynamically rhythmic or jazz-infused works. Adding such items may also have brought a welcome cosmopolitan spice to proceedings particularly when played by these outstanding artists.

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Joanne Talbot