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Steven Isserlis - The Cello in Wartime

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The Cello in Wartime

Connie Shih, Steven Isserlis

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The chief novelty of this release by cellist Steven Isserlis is the "trench cello" of British soldier Harold Triggs, not just a cello that was taken into the trenches, but a portable instrument that could be disassembled and packed into a box. Isserlis plays the actual instrument, lost to Triggs when he was captured by the Germans, but reunited with him in 1962 near the end of his life. There's nothing so extraordinary about its sound, although it's quite good all things considered, but hearing the appropriate pieces selected by Isserlis, including God Save the King and Ivor Novello's Keep the Home Fires Burning, is undeniably haunting. (The cello on the album's front cover is not the Triggs item, but a different homemade cello of the period.) The other works, played on Isserlis' usual instrument, are only tangentially connected to the War, but the cello's melancholic voice seems somehow evocative, and the defiantly French style of the Debussy Cello Sonata fits the mood. It's also worth being reminded that the careers of Fauré and Webern overlapped. Taken in totality, the album conveys the sweep of music at the time of World War I, and that's no small accomplishment.
© TiVo

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The Cello in Wartime

Steven Isserlis

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Cello Sonata in D Minor, L. 135 (Claude Debussy)

1
I. Prologue
00:04:12

Claude Debussy, Composer - Steven Isserlis, Artist, MainArtist - Connie Shih, Artist

(C) 2017 BIS (P) 2017 BIS

2
II. Serenade -
00:02:58

Claude Debussy, Composer - Steven Isserlis, Artist, MainArtist - Connie Shih, Artist

(C) 2017 BIS (P) 2017 BIS

3
III. Finale
00:03:31

Claude Debussy, Composer - Steven Isserlis, Artist, MainArtist - Connie Shih, Artist

(C) 2017 BIS (P) 2017 BIS

Cello Sonata (Frank Bridge)

4
I. Allegro ben moderato
00:10:42

Steven Isserlis, Artist, MainArtist - Frank Bridge, Composer - Connie Shih, Artist

(C) 2017 BIS (P) 2017 BIS

5
II. Adagio ma non troppo - Molto allegro e agitato
00:12:39

Steven Isserlis, Artist, MainArtist - Frank Bridge, Composer - Connie Shih, Artist

(C) 2017 BIS (P) 2017 BIS

Cello Sonata No. 1 in D minor, Op. 109 (Gabriel Fauré)

6
I. Allegro
00:05:31

Gabriel Fauré, Composer - Steven Isserlis, Artist, MainArtist - Connie Shih, Artist

(C) 2017 BIS (P) 2017 BIS

7
II. Andante
00:07:05

Gabriel Fauré, Composer - Steven Isserlis, Artist, MainArtist - Connie Shih, Artist

(C) 2017 BIS (P) 2017 BIS

8
III. Finale: Allegro comodo
00:06:06

Gabriel Fauré, Composer - Steven Isserlis, Artist, MainArtist - Connie Shih, Artist

(C) 2017 BIS (P) 2017 BIS

3 Kleine Stücke, Op. 11 (Anton Webern)

9
No. 1. Massige Achtel
00:01:03

Anton Webern, Composer - Steven Isserlis, Artist, MainArtist - Connie Shih, Artist

(C) 2017 BIS (P) 2017 BIS

10
No. 2. Sehr bewegt
00:00:22

Anton Webern, Composer - Steven Isserlis, Artist, MainArtist - Connie Shih, Artist

(C) 2017 BIS (P) 2017 BIS

11
No. 3. Ausserst ruhig
00:01:38

Anton Webern, Composer - Steven Isserlis, Artist, MainArtist - Connie Shih, Artist

(C) 2017 BIS (P) 2017 BIS

Carnival of the Animals, R. 125 (Camille Saint-Saëns)

12
Carnival of the Animals: XIII. Le Cygne (The Swan) (version for cello and piano)
00:03:42

CAMILLE SAINT-SAENS, Composer - Steven Isserlis, Artist, MainArtist - Connie Shih, Artist

(C) 2017 BIS (P) 2017 BIS

Jerusalem (arr. for cello and piano) (Anonyme)

13
Jerusalem (arr. for cello and piano)
00:02:21

Anonymous, Composer - Hubert Parry, Composer - Steven Isserlis, Artist, MainArtist - Connie Shih, Artist

(C) 2017 BIS (P) 2017 BIS

Keep the Home Fires Burning (arr. for cello and piano) (Anonyme)

14
Keep the Home Fires Burning (arr. for cello and piano)
00:02:10

Anonymous, Composer - Steven Isserlis, Artist, MainArtist - Ivor Novello, Composer - Connie Shih, Artist

(C) 2017 BIS (P) 2017 BIS

God Save the King (arr. for cello and piano) (Anonyme)

15
God Save the King (arr. for cello and piano)
00:01:29

Traditional, Composer - Anonymous, Composer - Steven Isserlis, Artist, MainArtist - Connie Shih, Artist

(C) 2017 BIS (P) 2017 BIS

Album Description

The chief novelty of this release by cellist Steven Isserlis is the "trench cello" of British soldier Harold Triggs, not just a cello that was taken into the trenches, but a portable instrument that could be disassembled and packed into a box. Isserlis plays the actual instrument, lost to Triggs when he was captured by the Germans, but reunited with him in 1962 near the end of his life. There's nothing so extraordinary about its sound, although it's quite good all things considered, but hearing the appropriate pieces selected by Isserlis, including God Save the King and Ivor Novello's Keep the Home Fires Burning, is undeniably haunting. (The cello on the album's front cover is not the Triggs item, but a different homemade cello of the period.) The other works, played on Isserlis' usual instrument, are only tangentially connected to the War, but the cello's melancholic voice seems somehow evocative, and the defiantly French style of the Debussy Cello Sonata fits the mood. It's also worth being reminded that the careers of Fauré and Webern overlapped. Taken in totality, the album conveys the sweep of music at the time of World War I, and that's no small accomplishment.
© TiVo

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