Steven Isserlis has earned a reputation as one of the foremost cellists of our day. At the same time he has become known for his ingenuity and innovation in programming, something which this disc is the perfect example of. It combines four works for cello and orchestra that wouldn't even exist without Isserlis - all arrangements made at his personal request, and each of them by the arranger of his personal choice. The most radical reworking is the opening piece, an arrangement based on the fact that Debussy at the age of 19 composed a Suite for cello and orchestra. All that is known for certain about this suite is that its fourth movement was called Intermezzo, and that this piece has survived in a version for cello and piano. In her imaginative reconstruction of - or rather replacement for - Debussy's original composition, Sally Beamish has used this piece as the opening movement, going on to construct orchestral arrangements of four other Debussy works from the same period, including the piano pieces Rêverie and Danse bohémienne. The two Ravel songs which follow were arranged by Isserlis' friend, the violinist Richard Tognetti in order to supplement the concert programme for a tour that the two were to make with Tognetti's own Australian Chamber Orchestra. Vladimir Blok's orchestration of Prokofiev's Concertino, which had been left incomplete at the death of the composer, was made as Isserlis was unhappy with the existing arrangement of the work, made by Kabalevsky. The disc closes with the earliest of these four re-visions, film composer Christopher Palmer's orchestration of Ernest Bloch's From Jewish Life, allowing the disc to end with the movement entitled Prayer - 'one of the most fervently beautiful pieces ever written for the cello', according to Steven Isserlis himself. Throughout the programme Isserlis receives the expert support of Tapiola Sinfonietta conducted by Gábor Takács-Nagy.
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