BBC Music Magazine Awards 2016 Concerto Finalist
A thrilling album from Steven Isserlis couples the ground-breaking Prokofiev Cello Concerto from the 1930s with Shostakovich’s eruptive response to it written for Rostropovich in 1959. These seminal works mark the cello’s coming of age, enveloping its trademark rhapsodic lyricism in a newly visceral passion.
Paavo Järvi makes his Hyperion debut, conducting an ebullient Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra and providing the ideal foil to Isserlis’s impassioned virtuosity.
Here at last is a recording to persuade sceptics that Prokofiev's Cello Concerto is not just an interesting but rather drab failure...both Isserlis and Jarvi leave their competition standing when it comes to expressive eloquence. BBC *****
In the first movement Isserlis conjures some surprising, visceral sounds from his instrument, ratcheting up the tension with a febrile, nervy vibrato up high...The soloist contributes his own lively and individualistic booklet-notes, enhancing the value of a fascinating, I'd say unmissable project. Gramophone