Exiles – Bloch: Schelomo; From Jewish Life; Korngold: Cello Concerto in C major, Op 37; Die tote Stadt, Op 12 (Tanzlied des Pierrot); Prokofiev: Overture on Jewish Themes, Op 34; Alberstein: Sarah Sings a Lullaby to Little Isaac

Reviewed on Fri 23 Jun, 2017

Korngold's Cello Concerto is a masterly, one-movement creation, full of driven, passionately songful inspiration and finds in Ophélie Gaillard a thrillingly committed champion.

New recordings of Korngold's Cello Concerto are always welcome. Adapted from his score for the 1946 film Deception (starring Bette Davis, Paul Henreid and Claude Rains), it's a masterly, one-movement creation, full of driven, passionately songful inspiration and finds in Ophélie Gaillard a thrillingly committed champion. It's followed by the deeply touching 'Tanzlied des Pierrot' from Korngold's opera Die tote Stadt and preceded by a powerfully communicative rendering of Bloch's intensely soulful and dramatic 'Hebraic Rhapsody' Schelomo. In all three works James Judd and the Monte-Carlo PO lend most attentive support, though the unduly spotlit solo balance does occasionally mask orchestral detail. Elsewhere, Prokofiev's winsome Overture on Hebrew Themes (composed in 1934 while he was in NewYork) is afforded delightfully klezmer-like treatment by members of the Sirba Octet, after which Gaillard returns in Bloch's miniature triptych From Jewish Life (in a tangy new arrangement by Cyrille Lehn) and Chava Alberstein's tenderly expressive 'Sarah Sings a Lullaby to Little Isaac'. A high-spirited 'Wedding Dance' and medley of Jewish songs round off this richly enjoyable programme. Gaillard herself supplies an absorbing booklet-essay for a project evidently very close to her heart.
–Andrew Achenbach