Four Visions of France: French Cello Concertos
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Four Visions of France: French Cello Concertos

Daniel Muller-Schott, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Alexandre Bloch

‘It is not by chance that luminous textures and sensual orchestral colors are considered essential features of French music. Its history features great names renowned for their art of instrumentation and sensitive use of timbres, who include the composers of the cello concertos on this recording: Camille Saint-Saëns, whose instrumentation technique always combines color with transparency, Édouard Lalo, who was highly esteemed by Claude Debussy for the wealth of color in his works, and Arthur Honegger, who painted striking soundscapes not only in his Cello Concerto but in his works without a large orchestra as well.’

‘Often it is the fine shadings and delicate transitions that characterize the tone colors of French music and are responsible for its delightful charm. Daniel Müller-Schott - Opus Klassik award winner 2019 - appealingly combines five works from the French sound kaleidoscope on his newest album with the DSO Berlin and Alexandre Bloch Four Visions of France.’ - Presto Classical

Review

Colours are where it’s at in this album. Tonal colours, historical colours and all the colours of France. Although these works range from 1872 all the way through to 1929, each is decidedly French in flavour.

Inspired by the art of French music, as many people are around the world, German cellist Daniel Müller-Schott has worked with French conductor Alexandre Bloch and German orchestra Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin to show how brightly coloured and far-reaching the French repertoire really is. Saint-Saëns’ Cello Concerto No. 1 is always a favourite, along with the beloved Élégie by Fauré. But it is Arthur Honegger (1892–1955) who caught my ear on this album. He was known as part of the famous ‘Les Six’, six famous French composers working in Montparnasse in the 1920s and beyond who were friends and collaborators. He is often forgotten nowadays, but the delightful Cello Concerto of 1929 is that delicious blend of classical romanticism with jazz elements, and rightly has pride of place at the centre of this album. Edouard Lalo’s Cello Concerto is also a welcome addition, with its rich romantic tone nicely rounding out the album.

Kate Rockstrom is a friend of Readings.

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