Arts-Scène Diffusion

Emmanuelle Bertrand


Cello Concerto n°1 - Sonata for celle and piano op. 40

Dmitri Shostakovich

Cello Concerto n°1 - Sonata for celle and piano op. 40

Harmonia Mundi, 2015

Emmanuelle Bertrand cello
Pascal Amoyel piano
BBC National Orchestra of Wales, dir. Pascal Rophé

Here are two masterpieces for cello by Shostakovich, written 25 years apart. The insolent Sonata op.40 of 1934 – contemporary with Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District, the opera soon to plunge its composer into disgrace with Stalin – was answered in 1959 by the bitter self-questioning of an artist who seemed to have sunk into depression. This Cello Concerto ends with a wicked caricature of true joy, adding the final touch to the extreme polymorphism of a traumatised humorist who had long since learned not to laugh . . .


Cello concerto n°1 in E-flat, op. 107 
Sonata for cello and piano in d, op. 40
Moderato for cello and piano


Fono Forum

Alle Achtung! Die französische Cellistin Emmanuelle Bertrand legt eine Interpretation von Dmitrij Schostakowitschs erstem Cellokonzert vor, die es an Ausdrucksintensität und permanenter Hochspannung mit der Mstislaw Rostropowitschs, dem Widmungsträger des Werks, unbedingt aufnehmen kann. 

Classics Today, 2013

This is one hell of a performance of Shostakovich’s First Cello Concerto. Emmanuelle Bertrand and conductor Pascal Rophé team up to produce one of the most intense and neurotic versions yet of this intense and neurotic piece. Read the full article

Joanne Talbot, The Strad, July 2013

[a] clear recording with a forceful narrative, building up great intensity into the fleet-footed finale, where she [Bertrand] is incisively partnered by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales [...] Masterfully partnered by Pascal Amoyel, she adeptly combines the forces of irony and fantasy in the second Allegro of the Sonata. But it is the hauntingly eloquent suffering of the Largo where both players are most evocative.

David Fanning, Gramophone Magazine, June 2013

Bertrand is nothing if not a gutsy player. The close-up recording captures her every breath and every rasp of bow on string. Pascal Rophe makes sure that the BBC NOW responds in kind [...] If she is as good live as she sounds here, and if she is as full of insight in the rest of her repertoire, I would certainly travel a distance to hear her [...] The Sonata, too, with Pascal Amoyel as much accomplice as accompanist, is individual without ever sounding forced. Bertrand gives us one of the dreamier accounts of the first movement and one of the most reined-in of the scherzo.

Helen Wallace, BBC Music Magazine, May 2013

[Bertrand] wears the piece lightly, dancing rather than carving through it, with a silvery line that can be ghostly or piercing but never gruff [...] her bright, neat staccato is effective even if climaxes lack heft [...] The BBC National Orchestra of Wales under Pascal Rophe, however, really does dance on hot coals and give the requisite blast [...] [the Moderato in A minor] has a haunting poetry and one can hardly imagine it better played ***

Robert Matthew-Walker, International Record Review, May 2013

In the Concerto, almost all of the playing is of intense musicality and virtuosity, which this highly original work demands...I feel that Bertrand does overdo at times the 'expressive' nature of her interpretation, but this observation is brought about solely because the rest of her performance is so impressive.

Bertrand Dermoncourt, Classica, 2013

Dans cette œuvre de jeunesse, Emmanuelle Bertrand et son habituel complice Pascal Amoyel ont choisi les options les plus intimistes, les phrasés les plus souples, les échanges les plus délicats, à l’opposé d’une certaine tradition qui tire la partition, peut-être à tort, vers des états plus amers.


Shostakovich, Cello concerto n°1 op. 107 in E flat Major 1. Allegretto

with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, dir. Pascal Rophé
Label Harmonia Mundi, 2013

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