The wonderful young cellist Natalie Clein has been a familiar name since winning the BBC Young Musician of the Year competition in 1994. Since then, she has pursued a distinguished career performing with the most celebrated orchestras and conductors around the world. She has also made a number of recordings—generally concentrating on the most popular cello repertoire. For her Hyperion debut she turns to a composer who is extremely close to her heart, the great Hungarian national composer Zoltán Kodály, who by his discovery and creative use of his folk-music heritage forged the standard by which twentieth-century Hungarian music should be judged.
Kodály made a decision to concentrate on instrumental and chamber music in his composing career, and he seemed to achieve more powerful results the fewer instruments he dealt with. He displayed elegant formal grasp and structural sophistication in his two string quartets and sheer passion and epic sweep in the violin-cello Duo (1914). But above all towers the amazing, ardent, pugnacious Sonata for Solo Cello (1915), the greatest utterance in this most demanding of genres since J S Bach’s solo cello suites. Calum MacDonald writes that ‘Had he written nothing else apart from this magnificent sonata, Kodály would still deserve to be accounted one of the greatest musical geniuses that Hungary has ever produced’. Natalie Clein’s performance of this highly emotional monologue is a passionate, coruscating tour-de-force.
Also included are a delightful selection of Kodály’s other works for cello; performed here with Hyperion regular and Natalie’s frequent duo partner, Julius Drake.
Kodály: Sonata, Op. 8 - 1. Allegro Maestoso Ma Appassionato
Kodály: Sonata, Op. 8 - 2. Adagio
Kodály: Sonata, Op. 8 - 3. Allegro Molto Vivace
Kodály: 9 Epigrams - #1 Lento
Kodály: 9 Epigrams - #2
Kodály: 9 Epigrams - #3
Kodály: 9 Epigrams - #4 Moderato
Kodály: 9 Epigrams - #5 Allegretto
Kodály: 9 Epigrams - #6 Andantino
Kodály: 9 Epigrams - #7 Con Moto
Kodály: 9 Epigrams - #8
Kodály: 9 Epigrams - #9
Kodály: Romance Lyrique
27th May 2010
“[The solo sonata is] extremely impressive, both in the impassioned rhapsodies of the first two movements, and in the array of folk tunes that are paraded in the ferociously challenging finale.”
12th May 2010
“Magically deft, soaringly passionate, without any trace of self-indulgence, Clein conjures a full orchestra of colours and textures from her precious Guadagnini cello...Julius Drake’s piano accompaniments are expectedly delicate and caring. Hyperion’s warm recording is another joy.”
“...the compelling reason for acquiring this disc...is Clein's magnificent account of the Solo Sonata, Op. 8...Clein's depth of tone makes an immediate impact on this well-engineered recording...A must-have disc.”
25th June 2010
“Kodály’s Sonata for Solo Cello represents one of those daunting summits that
cellists feel ineluctably drawn to conquer, and Natalie Clein does so here with terrific passion, piquancy and technical accomplishment...Altogether, an imaginatively planned disc, and one played compellingly.”
“[Clein] produces an astonishing range of colours and evokes the widest variety of expressive styles. I find it admirable, too, how she's able, in the recording studio, to maintain so much of the excitement and directness of live performance...Julius Drake's expressive playing is a fine match for Clein's outgoing manner.”
11th July 2010
“Her greatest achievement is the 1915 Sonata...Pianist Julius Drake shades the introduction to the 1922 Sonatina exquisitely. A bold recital in which Clein embraces a darker, wilder sound.”
Click on any of the works listed above for alternative recordings.