Monday, February 27, 2017

Ernest Bloch; Max Bruch - Works for Cello & Orchestra (Natalie Clein)


Composer: Ernest Bloch; Max Bruch
  1. Bloch - "Schelomo", Rhapsodie Hébraïque
  2. Bloch - From Jewish Life (arr. C. Palmer): 1. Prayer
  3. Bloch - From Jewish Life (arr. C. Palmer): 2. Supplication
  4. Bloch - From Jewish Life (arr. C. Palmer): 3. Jewish Song
  5. Bloch - Voice in the Wilderness: 1. Moderato
  6. Bloch - Voice in the Wilderness: 2. Poco lento
  7. Bloch - Voice in the Wilderness: 3. Moderato
  8. Bloch - Voice in the Wilderness: 4. Adagio piacevole
  9. Bloch - Voice in the Wilderness: 5. Poco agitato - Cadenza
  10. Bloch - Voice in the Wilderness: 6. Allegro gioioso
  11. Bruch - Kol Nidrei, Op. 47

Natalie Clein, cello
BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra
Ilan Volkov, conductor

Date: 2012
Label: Hyperion



Schelomo (‘Solomon’) grew from a project to set verses from the book of Ecclesiastes but Bloch later opted for a purely instrumental realisation. The cello takes on the king’s personality, meditating that ‘All is vanity’, the orchestra sometimes appearing to reflect these melancholy thoughts, at others portraying the barbaric splendour of Solomon’s court. Natalie Clein’s performance concentrates, most affectingly, on the atmosphere of deep introspection. Other cellists, Piatigorsky, for instance, have projected a more painful intensity but Clein’s is thoughtful, subtle and satisfying, well supported by the passionate and spirited BBC Scottish SO.

Clein is highly sensitive to the emotional import of Bloch’s modal inflections; this enables her to find exactly the right character for each of the scenes From Jewish Life. Christopher Palmer’s arrangement for strings and harp of the original piano part is expertly done, although one misses the contrast of tone colour at the points where the piano takes over the melody. Voice in the Wilderness has a most original form. Each of its six sections is introduced by the orchestra, after which the cello enters to meditate on the ideas we’ve just heard. Natalie Clein encompasses all the work’s varied character and demands while retaining an air of polish in her playing. Her chords in the vigorous, energetic third section, for example, remain full and rounded, without appearing over-careful. The Bruch, too, receives a lovely performance, with Clein bringing out the different colour of each of the cello’s strings and the orchestra effecting most beautifully the transition from sombre to heavenly.

-- Duncan Druce, Gramophone

More reviews:
BBC Music Magazine  WILDERNESS: **** / THE REST: ***** / RECORDING: *****
MusicWeb International  RECORDING OF THE MONTH


Ernest Bloch (July 24, 1880 – July 15, 1959) was a Swiss-born American composer.  Bloch's musical style does not fit easily into any of the usual categories; he studied variously with Jaques-Dalcroze, Iwan Knorr and Ludwig Thuille, as well as corresponding with Mahler and meeting Debussy. Many of his works - as can be seen from their Hebrew-inspired titles - also draw heavily on his Jewish heritage. He held several teaching appointments in the U.S., with George Antheil, Frederick Jacobi, Quincy Porter, Bernard Rogers, and Roger Sessions among his pupils.


Max Bruch (6 January 1838 – 2 October 1920) was a German Romantic composer and conductor. He is best known for his first violin concerto, which is a staple of the violin repertory.His complex and unfailingly well-structured works, in the German Romantic musical tradition, placed him in the camp of Romantic classicism exemplified by Johannes Brahms, rather than the opposing "New Music" of Franz Liszt and Richard Wagner. In his time he was known primarily as a choral composer.


Natalie Clein (born 25 March 1977, Poole, Dorset) is a British classical cellist. She studied with Anna Shuttleworth and Alexander Baillie at the Royal College of Music, and with Heinrich Schiff in Vienna. Clein came to prominence after winning the BBC Young Musician of the Year competition in 1994. In 1999 she was invited as one of the first artists to join the BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artists scheme. She has recorded for EMI Classics and Hyperion. She plays on the 1777 "Simpson" Guadagnini cello.


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  4. Thank for sharing this! i am looking since a long time to "Richard Locker - Jewish cello masterpieces", I was wondering if you have it as it contains Bloch and Bruch compositions. Thank in advance. Regards