Though most of us came to know the artistry of cellist Truls Mork via his brilliantly acccomplished recording of the Bach Cello Suites for unaccompanied cello, surveying the library of his recorded works with orchestra demonstrates that not only can he communicate on the intimate scale, but that he also has the sound and the integrity to handle the big concerti as well.
This superb CD pairs the works of two English composers, works about as different as any pairing in the repertoire.
The Elgar Cello Concerto in E minor Op. 85, long associated for good reasons with the much missed Jacqueline du Pré, is now one of the most lushly beautiful on record.
Mork has a huge tone that is never pushed beyond the limits of beauty and he knows how to make Elgar’s extraordinarily beautiful two Adagio movements sing.
The entire work is competently and passionately in is hands and he is beautifully supported by Simon Rattle and the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.
This single concerto is reason enough to buy the recording.
But our Norwegian artist does not stop there.
Instead he tackles the almost impossible demands of Benjamin Britten’s conversation between cello and orchestra, a work full of agitation and ironies and one that can easily fall flat in the hands of a lesser musician.
Again Mork is in utter control of the difficult lines and knows when to allow the stridency to claw as well as how to allow Britten’s eloquent melody lines flow in a natural manner.
Again, Rattle and his orchestra provide superlative collaboration.
This is a recording to treasure - both for the magnificence of the Elgar and the challenge of the Britten.