The dazzling young Russian cellist Aleksei Kiseliov takes the solo spot on 14 March in Schumann’s heart-rending Cello Concerto – one of the three great Romantic works for this instrument. We hear more from Aleksei himself…
Schumann might be better known as a composer for the piano. How successful has he been in writing for the cello and orchestra?
Perhaps not very successful at the time it was written, purely because of the circumstances and the fashion of those days. It was not performed until after Schumann (pictured) died. While being a musical masterpiece, this concerto is very awkward and difficult to play from a technical point of view.
However, the cellists at the time criticised the piece for not being virtuosic enough. It is not a typical Paganini style concerto, but a very delicate, fragile yet temperamental piece.
What makes Firebird, and Michael Thrift as conductor, the perfect combination to support you as a soloist in this piece?
I have a long relationship with Firebird and it is always nice to come back and play with this orchestra that has a vibrant and youthful energy in it. Also, I am looking forward to working with Michael Thrift (pictured) for the first time, and since he has worked with Firebird previously it will make our collaboration even more exciting.
How do you bring something fresh and exciting to such well-known and often performed works like these?
Even if the same piece has been played for one hundred times by the same soloist and the same orchestra, it is impossible for them to remain the same. People change every second, so does their perception of music. Whether you want it or not, it will be different. As for the freshness, I do not think that our concert on the 14th of March has the risk of being out of date.
What do you expect to be the main areas you will need to focus on during the rehearsals with the Orchestra?
At the rehearsals I think is very important to find and establish understanding between the soloist, the conductor and the players. Once it is there the working process becomes very enjoyable and productive. My favourite part of it is the end result, of course, when you forget everything and just give yourself into the hands of music.
And what else is in the pipeline for you in 2019?
This year is quite busy with various projects. I am working on different concerti at the moment including projects with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO) as a soloist. I am developing a collaboration with a fantastic pianist Alasdair Beatson, chamber music concerts with my colleagues from RSNO, BBC Scottish and Scottish Chamber orchestras! Also, I spend some time guesting in other orchestras in the UK and Europe as a Principal Cellist.
Mendelssohn in March
Thursday 14 March 2019 7.30pm
St George’s Hanover Square, London
Mendelssohn Overture to A Midsummer Night’s Dream in E major, Op. 21
Schumann Cello Concerto in A minor, Op. 129
Brahms Symphony No.1 in C minor, Op. 68
Michael Thrift conductor
Aleksei Kiseliov cello
Join London Firebird Orchestra in this spectacular central London venue for a wonderful evening of music with these three great works from the very heart of European classical music in the 19th century.