'Every possible combination of the three': Natalie Clein Returns to Ireland with Unique Trio

Natalie Clein (Photo: Neda Navaee)

'Every possible combination of the three': Natalie Clein Returns to Ireland with Unique Trio

Cellist Natalie Clein, soprano Claire Booth and pianist Julius Drake perform three special Music Network concerts next week with a range of musical miniatures.

Two months after she performed to acclaim at the Westport Festival of Chamber Music, audiences in Dublin, Wexford and Sligo will have a chance to hear British cellist Natalie Clein, with singer Claire Booth and pianist Julius Drake, between 29 November and 1 December.

It’s a unique programme from the trio, a ‘musical journey’ as Clein told the Journal of Music, ‘from Bach through to a brand new commission that was composed for us last year by Deborah Pritchard, and then in the middle there’s these three stunning John Tavener songs – very mystical and affective and spiritual like he always is.’

Clein – a renowned cellist who in the last year has played at the Cello Unwrapped Series at London’s Kings Place, at Syndey Opera House and the BBC Proms – worked with the late composer. ‘I went to his house to work with him on a couple of his pieces. I worked quite intensively with him in the last years of his life. It was a great joy. He was a very warm man… very interested in the purity of the sound of the instrument.’

Creative ideas
Kodály, Cage, Brahms, Schubert and a ’small masterpiece’ by Janáček are also on the programme. The idea for the concert is that the short pieces and different combinations of cello, voice and piano will be explored throughout the evening.

It’s a whole group of miniatures – the stature of the music is not miniature at all – it’s a broad range of creative ideas. Everything is short and they weave into each other. We do a lot of the first half without any applause.

Clein particularly enjoys performing in Ireland, and will give a masterclass at the Royal Irish Academy of Music while she’s here. Her grandparents on her father’s side were Irish, born in Cork and bought up in Dublin. She has previously performed at the West Cork Chamber Music Festival, as part of the NCH Chamber Music Series, and played the Elgar Concerto with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra.

The whole score
Soprano Claire Booth is unique for the range of repertoire and projects she has undertaken. Her most recent recording is a collection of Percy Grainger folk songs, and she will also soon embark on an innovative project in which she will perform Schumann lieder and accompany herself on piano. ‘Claire understands the whole score so she’s a joy for an instrumentalist to work with,’ says Clein.

Julius Drake has just released the fifth instalment in his cycle of Liszt works for the Hyperion label, recorded with tenor Allan Clayton. Gramophone wrote about the album that ‘Drake… invests every phrase with weight and meaning, and is, as ever, outstanding.’

All three musician will be on stage throughout the concert, performing in different combinations: ‘Cello/piano, cello/voice, piano/voice, piano/cello – every possible combination of the three.’ ‘I like that concept very much’, says Clein, ‘a narrative through different eras of music with the voice and the cello and the piano linking that through.’

Natalie Clein, Claire Booth and Julius Drake will perform at the Royal College of Physicians in Dublin on 29 November, at the National Opera House, Wexford on 30 November, and at the Model, Sligo on 1 December. For more information and tickets, visit www.musicnetwork.ie.

Published on 22 November 2018

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