Sol Gabetta: Prayer – Bloch: Schelomo, From Jewish Life; Nigun, Méditation hébraïque; Shostakovich: From Jewish Folk Poetry; Casals: El Cant dels Ocells (The Song of the Birds)

Reviewed on Tue 06 Jan, 2015

Sometimes we want an hour of peaceful thoughtfulness. The cello does the honours on this strongly-felt disc from the award-winning Argentine virtuoso, Sol Gabetta. She sounds perfectly at home in this soulful repertoire, steering a fine balance between strong emotion and steady control. Most of the works are suitably modest arrangements (by Christopher Palmer, Peter Purich and Mikhail Bronner) for cello and string orchestra from cello and piano originals. The bulk of the menu is provided by Ernest Bloch: his three-movement suite From Jewish Life, 'Nigun' from Baal Shem, Méditation hébraïque and towering 'Hebraic Rhapsody' Schelomo (the one work played as originally composed). We also get four movements from Shostakovich's From Jewish Folk Poetry and, acting as a sort of encore, Pablo Casals's The Song of the Birds. Throughout, Gabetta performs with great sensitivity and warm, appealing tone; the Amsterdam Sinfonietta under Candida Thompson lend admirable support, as do Leonard Slatkin and the Orchestre National de Lyon in Schelomo. An unadulterated pleasure.
–Ivor Solomons