In recording Sir Edward Elgar
Natalie CleinElgar Cello Concerto in E Minor, Op. 85(EMI)
In recording Sir Edward Elgar’s Cello Concerto, Natalie Clein had some big shoes to fill, said Rick Jones in the London Times. The British cellist, 30 years old, realized she could never compete with the late Jacqueline du Pré’s acclaimed interpretation, a consummate performance recorded for the same label in 1965. But Clein, who received the BBC’s Young Musician award for her rendition of Elgar’s work nearly 15 years ago, was determined to bring some of her own personality to the work. Clein’s understanding and passion for the concerto are infinitely clear here, said Edward Greenfield in Gramophone. She recognizes du Pré’s recording as “definitive” but proves there is room for ingenuity and interpretation. Supported by the “wonderfully refined” sound of the Liverpool Philharmonic under Vernon Handley, Clein delivers a “splendid follow-up to EMI’s long-established best-seller.” She follows du Pré’s lead at times; her “rubato is as free as that of du Pré and the vibrato just as marked.” Yet the end result more closely resembles recordings by Steven Isserlis and Beatrice Harrison, said Jessica Duchen in the London Independent. Confident and in control, she “offers a straightforward, touching, direct approach, with no hint of histrionics.” Clein is no du Pré, but at least she’s her own woman.