British cellist Steven Isserlis points out that the four composers represented on this disc have a number of things in common – they were born within 30 years of each other, had nationalist tendencies, and all lived at some point in Paris – but the major unifying theme is the fact that Isserlis commissioned all these arrangements of pieces that had originally existed in other formats. The circumstances of the creation of each of the arrangements are fascinating ……Stephen Eddins @ AllMusic
John Holloway and Davitt Moroney have set up a musically rewarding partnership in these brilliantly inventive works, furthermore adding to their programme the two lovely sonatas for violin and continuo long attributed to Bach, and justly so. In both of them they are joined by Susan Sheppard (continuo cello). For these sonatas Moroney has preferred a chamber organ to a harpsichord.
Dimitry Markevitch (1923 - 2002) was a Russian concert cellist, researcher, teacher and musicologist. He studied under Gregor Piatigorsky and founded the Institut de Hautes Etudes Musicales (IHEM) in Switzerland. His brother, Igor Markevitch, was an orchestral conductor.Markevitch rediscovered several important manuscripts, including Westphal and Kellner transcriptions of several Bach Suites, and published his own edition of the Suites, playing all six in recital at Carnegie Hall in New York in 1964. He was one of the first people to champion "authentic" instrumental techniques and played a baroque cello for pieces composed before the 19th century.
The music of Nino Rota is featured on this album with cellist Friedrich Kleinhapl and Philharmonisches Orchester Augsburg conducted by Dirk Kaftan. Rota is a musical chameleon who convincingly conjures Mozart, 19th-century Romantics, or Hollywood. The first of his two cello concertos on the album is a romantic throwback to the 19th century, though written in 1972. Kleinhapl is a perfect choice to perform this work, for his playing is very agile and expressive. His tends to have a thinner, more lyrical style of playing, like a violin, and his bow technique is fluid, moving easily between the strings.
Veteran studio musician Steven Sharp Nelson stepped out of a backing role and into the forefront with Sacred Cello, his debut effort. Having performed on over 100 albums previous to this inaugural solo project, he displays a penchant for improvisation even underneath a surface of meticulous precision. Nelson shows a mastery of tempo and dynamic contrast that evokes a surprisingly strong amount of emotion, even with what could be considered a familiar track list to classicists. There are no real surprises in the core lineup of hymns, but a stylish variety of classical and traditional work adds a sparkling flourish to the set.