The British cellist performed in A Room for London on 24 August 2012
Watch her performance below
Photograph by Sussie Ahlburg
Reflections before her stay
Unlike nearly all of the other artists performing in this unique space this year, I don't think of myself as a creator but more as a re-creator. So the idea behind my performance next month is to create a tapestry of music, all for solo cello, written between 1730 and 2012. This also happens to encompass almost the lifetime of the instrument I play (it was made in 1777) and most of the buildings that I will see from my windows on the boat. I have nearly all of the pieces of the patchwork in my mind (and fingers!) already; but the interesting part will be weaving it together, which I will only complete when I go to stay in the Room. I'll write more about my choices of music when I'm there, but whilst choosing, I have been continuously drawn to music that has silence at its core, that sets up a dialogue between solitude and its opposite and music that feels as though it ebbs and flows like the river I'll be so close to. I'm hoping that the energy of all that has already taken place there will be circling around the Room itself; and I'm sure the awe inspiring view from the window will exert its own power. I'm also interested to see if the soul of Conrad's Heart of Darkness will be lurking in the silences, encouraging moments of stillness, contemplation and new horizons.
Watch the performance
Notes from her set
1) Lutoslawski: Sacher Variations
I wanted to begin with Lutoslawski, partly as an ode to another great Polish-born artist, Jozef Conrad, and partly because the exploratory nature of this piece - as he weaves in and out of quarter tones on the cello - seemed to sum up the experimental nature of this programme for me.
2) Ligeti: Dialogo, from the Cello Sonata
This sonata was written for a cello student that Ligeti was in love with. The dialogue takes place between the lower and higher registers of the instrument. A Room for London had felt lonely to some of its inhabitants at times and I wanted to play through the idea of solitude and its opposite.
3) Britten: Solo Cello Suite No 3
When I first stepped on to the boat to take a sneak preview of the Room (on a cold January morning), I immediately thought of this opening part of Britten's third cello suite. Perhaps it was the cold, slick, black quality to the river as it was then, or the inexorable flow and pull of the bells at the beginning of the piece, or the haunting loneliness, or the Englishness, but I had to include it. And the ironic nature of what follows also fit well, in my imagination, with the disembodied spirit of Conrad's story.
4) Bach: G Major Prelude
Britten composed an ode to Rostropovich playing this Prelude at this point in the piece, so I had to take the logical step backwards. And spontaneously, it felt right.
5) Ligeti: Cappriccio from the Solo Sonata
The Ligeti was calling me back with less loneliness now.
6) Kurtág: Faltering Words - Hommage to John Cage Kurtág is fascinated by silence and all that it can embody. This piece seemed to resonate strongly with the spirit of the room and all the creativity that has taken place there, although it's impossible to pin these silences and and faltering words down - they can only live in the moment or not at all.
7) Kurtág: Az Hit "Kurtz... Heavens! How that man could talk! He had faith - don't you see? - he had the faith. He could get himself to believe anything - anything."
8) Bach: D Minor Prelude
-Again I was pulled back to the source, as many describe Bach. And I could see St Paul's as I was playing - quite an inspiring sight...
9) Kurtág: Shadows
All that are ever left after an ephemeral performance.
About Natalie Clein
Described by the London Times as a "mesmerising" cellist who "plays everything with passion", Natalie Clein is firmly established amongst Britain's leading artists.
Natalie has performed with orchestras including the Philharmonia, Royal Philharmonic, Hallé, Royal Scottish National, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Bournemouth Symphony, Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields, City of Birmingham Symphony, Montreal Symphony, Vienna Chamber Orchestra, Orchestre de Lyon, Stavanger Symphony, New Zealand Symphony, Western Australia Symphony, Orquesta Filarmónica de Buenos Aires and Utah Symphony.
Conductors with whom Natalie has worked include Sir Charles Mackerras, Sir Mark Elder, Gennardi Rozhdestvensky, Sir Andrew Davis, Heinrich Schiff, Sir Neville Marriner, Mark Wigglesworth and Paul Daniel.
In recital Natalie performs regularly with Julius Drake and Katya Apekisheva, and has appeared at the Wigmore Hall, Concertgebouw, Lincoln Centre, Birmingham Town Hall, National Concert Hall Dublin, Manchester International Festival, in Salzburg, Vienna, Tokyo, Sydney and Seoul. Also a dedicated chamber musician, Natalie has collaborated with artists including Martha Argerich, Ian Bostridge, Simon Keenlyside, Melvyn Tan, Imogen Cooper, Lars Vogt, Steven Isserlis, Isabelle Faust, Priya Mitchell, Antony Marwood, Pekka Kuusisto, Polina Leshenko, and Krzysztof Chorzelski.
Natalie is also committed to extending the cello repertoire and has commissioned and premiered works by Thomas Larcher, Peter Maxwell Davis, John Tavener, Francis Grier, Dobrinka Tabakova and Fyfe Dangerfield, and collaborated in performance with the dancer Carlos Acosta and the writer Jeanette Winterson.
Born in the UK Natalie first came to widespread attention at the age of sixteen when she won both the BBC Young Musician of the Year and the Eurovision Competition for Young Musicians. As a student, she was awarded the Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Scholarship by the Royal College of Music before completing her studies with Heinrich Schiff in Vienna. Other awards include a Classical Brit for Young British Performer of 2005.
Natalie records for Hyperion Records as an exclusive artist, releasing a CD of works by Kodaly to critical acclaim. For EMI Classics she recorded two recital discs and the Elgar Cello Concerto with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and Vernon Handley.
Natalie plays the “Simpson” Guadagnini cello of 1777.