Bloch: The Three Suites for solo cello; Dallapiccola: Ciaccona, Intermezzo e Adagio; Ligeti: Sonata for solo cello

Reviewed on Mon 13 Feb, 2017

Natalie Clein penetrates to the very heart of this wholly personable, consistently absorbing music – by turns intimate, playful, songful and profound – in performances of enviable eloquence, concentration and authority.

Ernest Bloch composed three suites for solo cello in 1956 and 1957 for his most assiduous champion, Zara Nelsova (1918-2002). It is, as Natalie Clein observes in the booklet, a crying shame that the Canadian-born virtuoso didn't leave us a commercial recording of them. What we do have here, though, is surely the next best thing. Outstandingly sensitive, raptly dedicated and burnished of tone, Clein penetrates to the very heart of this wholly personable, consistently absorbing music – by turns intimate, playful, songful and profound – in performances of enviable eloquence, concentration and authority. She is no less convincing in the gritty and deeply thoughtful Ciaccona, Intermezzo e Adagio that Luigi Dallapiccola fashioned in 1945 for the Spaniard Gaspar Cassadó (1897-1966). György Ligeti's youthful Sonata (1948-53) is entirely different again, its lyrical opening 'Dialogo' succeeded by an exuberant 'Capriccio' that sweeps all before it in Clein's joyously uninhibited rendering. A genuine treat, this – and superbly realistic sound, too.
–Andrew Achenbach