Colin Clarke

Tecchler’s Cello

8:00, 22nd November 2017

Guy Johnston (vc), Sheku Kanneh-Mason (vc); Tom Poster (pf); Magnus Johnston (vn); Choir of King’s College, Cambridge/Stephen Cleobury; Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia/Carlo Rizzari
King’s College Cambridge KG50026

This is a lovely idea: the Tecchler of the disc title is Johnston’s David Tecchler cello, which celebrated its 300th birthday in 2014. To mark this occasion, Johnston commissioned three new works (by Matthews, Simpson and Bray), which receive their recording premieres.

Himself a former chorister of King’s College, Cambridge, Johnston is joined by them in Ola Gjello’s restrained, ecstatic Serenity. The disc is presented as a journey from Cambridge to Rome (where the luthier Tecchler was based) in several chapters, interspersed with premieres. Matthews’ Ein Celloleben references Strauss, Corelli, Beethoven and Ravel; Johnston offers a stunning tour-de-force. Simpson’s Un Regalo plays brilliantly on the Tecchler’s resonance while Charlotte Bray’s dark Perseus marries cryptogram with cosmic metaphor.

There is a youthful aspect Beethoven’s Ghost Trio, while Johnston and Kanneh-Mason’s performance of Barrière G-Major Sonata is pure joy, played on two Tecchlers. Respighi’s Adagio con variazioni is magnificently lyrical.

Imaginatively conceived and beautifully performed, this disc is a winner.

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