Kodaly: Cello Sonata

Kodaly: Cello Sonata

2010 | Hyperion

Natalie Clein (cello)


The wonderful young cellist Natalie Clein has been a familiar name since winning the BBC Young Musician of the Year competition in 1994. Since then, she has pursued a distinguished career performing with the most celebrated orchestras and conductors around the world. She has also made a number of recordings—generally concentrating on the most popular cello repertoire. For her Hyperion debut she turns to a composer who is extremely close to her heart, the great Hungarian national composer Zoltán Kodály, who by his discovery and creative use of his folk-music heritage forged the standard by which twentieth-century Hungarian music should be judged.

Kodály made a decision to concentrate on instrumental and chamber music in his composing career, and he seemed to achieve more powerful results the fewer instruments he dealt with. He displayed elegant formal grasp and structural sophistication in his two string quartets and sheer passion and epic sweep in the violin-cello Duo (1914). But above all towers the amazing, ardent, pugnacious Sonata for Solo Cello (1915), the greatest utterance in this most demanding of genres since J S Bach’s solo cello suites. Calum MacDonald writes that ‘Had he written nothing else apart from this magnificent sonata, Kodály would still deserve to be accounted one of the greatest musical geniuses that Hungary has ever produced’. Natalie Clein’s performance of this highly emotional monologue is a passionate, coruscating tour-de-force.

Also included are a delightful selection of Kodály’s other works for cello; performed here with Hyperion regular and Natalie’s frequent duo partner, Julius Drake.

Track Listing

Kodály: Sonata, Op. 8 – 1. Allegro Maestoso Ma Appassionato

Kodály: Sonata, Op. 8 – 2. Adagio

Kodály: Sonata, Op. 8 – 3. Allegro Molto Vivace

Kodály: Sonatina

Kodály: 9 Epigrams – #1 Lento

Kodály: 9 Epigrams – #2

Kodály: 9 Epigrams – #3

Kodály: 9 Epigrams – #4 Moderato

Kodály: 9 Epigrams – #5 Allegretto

Kodály: 9 Epigrams – #6 Andantino

Kodály: 9 Epigrams – #7 Con Moto

Kodály: 9 Epigrams – #8

Kodály: 9 Epigrams – #9

Kodály: Romance Lyrique

Kodály: Adagio


FIVE STARS Financial Times, August 2010
The final two pieces, Romance lyrique and Adagio, are student works, exuding an innocent romanticism that Clein and Drake capture to perfection.

BBC Music Magazine, July 2010
“A must-have disc.”

FIVE STARS The Telegraph, 25 June 2010
Altogether, an imaginatively planned disc, and one played compellingly.