A major release at the start of Britten’s anniversary celebrations. Britten’s long friendship with cellist Mstislav Rostropovich was one of the most inspiring and fruitful musical collaborations in history. It led directly to the composition of some of the most important works for cello of the twentieth century.
Alban Gerhardt, among the greatest living exponents of the instrument, performs this body of works in its entirety. In the Cello Sonata he is partnered by Steven Osborne, whose Hyperion recording of Britten’s Piano Concerto received a Gramophone Award. The BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Andrew Manze join Gerhardt for the Cello Symphony, Britten’s only substantial piece of absolute symphonic music.
The astonishing music for solo cello—the three suites plus the miniature Tema ‘Sacher’—completes the set. The suites are repositories of a huge number of compositional and string-playing techniques, acknowledging their debt to Bach but also demonstrating all the imagination and emotional scope for which the composer is revered.