^ Back to Top
^ Back to Discography
Classical Music Home

The World's Leading Classical Music Group

Email Password  
Not a subscriber yet?
Keyword Search
in
 

STEVEN ISSERLIS

The English cellist Steven Isserlis is a grandson of the Russian pianist and composer Julius Isserlis—one of the first twelve musicians allowed to exit the Soviet Union to promote Russian culture. He studied with Jane Cowan (a pupil of Feuermann) then Richard Kapuscinski (pupil of Rose and Salmond) and quickly began a wide-ranging career as a soloist performing with most of the world’s leading ensembles, including period instrument groups.

Like many soloists Isserlis is also an enthusiastic chamber musician; he gives regular recitals with Melvyn Tan and in 1991 formed a trio with Joshua Bell and Olli Mustonen. He is a recipient of the Piatigorsky Artist Award and the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Instrumentalist of the Year Award and has given a number of high-profile premières, including works by Robert Saxton, Elizabeth Maconchy, Howard Blake and John Tavener. The latter’s work The Protecting Veil received its highly acclaimed première at the BBC Proms in 1989 and the subsequent recording brought both Tavener and Isserlis to greater prominence, winning a Gramophone Award. Among his many other recordings are the concertos by Elgar and Barber, Britten’s Cello Symphony and much chamber music, as well as numerous obscure and forgotten pieces—Isserlis is, by his own admission, always hungry for more music to be added to the cello’s repertoire.

Pedagogic interests are youth-centred for Isserlis, who has recorded a CD of cello music aimed at attracting children to the instrument and its repertoire. He gives children’s concerts, has co-written three narrated works with composer Anne Dudley, and has authored two books about the great composers: Why Beethoven Threw the Stew and Why Handel Waggled his Wig. In 1996 he succeeded Sándor Végh as artistic director of the International Musicians’ Seminar in Cornwall, where he gives masterclasses, perpetuating Végh’s typically Hungarian trait of directness in interpretation and communication, which Isserlis admires: ‘We cultivate the same approach […] We don’t talk about projection, career or success. We just try to look inside the music.’

Isserlis’s committed and accessible musicianship shines through in his recordings, the eclectic selection here demonstrating the breadth of his performance interests. His sound is within the modern mould, but with a flexibility that is refreshing. Unusually for a player whose repertoire is not just early music, he prefers gut strings for their relatively subtle, rounded tone. He uses a ‘classical’ bow where appropriate. His vibrato, whilst more or less continuous, is nonetheless applied sensitively and in context, while his fluid tone and bowing are notable and shown to great effect in the Bloch and Ravel arrangements selected (2010). These performances show Isserlis’s ability to create space in a musical texture, making them especially evocative. Conversely, his Boccherini Sonata No. 2 (1988) is more tightly argued with a playful sense of fun, something found equally in the W.H. Squire Danse rustique on his Children’s Cello album (2005). His beautiful cantabile tone is heard in George Dyson’s little Melody from the same album: modest in scale and ambition, this is played soulfully and with absolute sincerity by Isserlis. This sincerity is transmitted equally in a distinguished Elgar Cello Concerto (1988), which is delicate where possible and sonorous where necessary and taken at a spacious but not ponderous pace, whilst Tavener’s The Protecting Veil (première recording, 1992) with its prominent solo cello part is played with drama and excellent characterisation. These recordings reveal a versatile and intelligent artist of great presence and sensitivity.

© Naxos Rights International Ltd. — David Milsom (A–Z of String Players, Naxos 8.558081-84)


Albums featuring this artist are available for download from ClassicsOnline.com
View by Role: Classical Artist | Classical Composer
Role: Classical Artist 
Album Title
Catalogue No  Work Category 

Role: Classical Composer 
Album Title  Catalogue No  Work Category 
CHILDREN'S CELLO BIS
BIS-CD-1562
Chamber Music





 
 
 View Albums
 
 




 Tell a Friend |  Bookmark this page Digg It |  Bookmark this page Del.icio.us. |  Add to Facebook Facebook |  FURL FURL |  Add to MySpace MySpace |  Stumbleupon StumbleUpon |  Twitter Twitter

Famous Composers Quick Link:
Bach | Beethoven | Chopin | Dowland | Handel | Haydn | Mozart | Glazunov | Schumann | R Strauss | Vivaldi
1:03:37 AM, 22 September 2014
All Naxos Historical, Naxos Classical Archives, Naxos Jazz, Folk and Rock Legends and Naxos Nostalgia titles are not available in the United States and some titles may not be available in Australia and Singapore because these countries have copyright laws that provide or may provide for terms of protection for sound recordings that differ from the rest of the world.
Copyright © 2014 Naxos Digital Services Ltd. All rights reserved.     Terms of Use     Privacy Policy
-208-
Classical Music Home
NOTICE: This site was unavailable for several hours on Saturday, June 25th 2011 due to some unexpected but essential maintenance work. We apologize for any inconvenience.