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Manchester Camerata’s principal cellist Hannah Roberts performs the third movement of the Elgar Cello Concerto, under the baton of Gábor Takács-Nagy.

’There was always music in our house during my childhood,’ Roberts told The Strad, illustrating her history with the work. ’The Elgar (in Jacqueline du Pre’s first recording) was a particular favourite of both my parents and will have been ”in the air” for as far back as I can remember! 

’A particularly strong memory for me was my first opportunity to hear and see a live performance when I was around six years old with Zara Nelsova as soloist. She glided onto the stage wearing an enormous golden gown and sat with the cello nestled amongst all the layers of silk, playing in characteristically dramatic style!’

Reflecting on the third movement of the concert in particular, she said, ’This slow movement has the most extraordinarily natural and emotive shape, starting with the rising, simple, and I feel very loving, trusting  gesture of openness in the cello line.

’I love very much that the whole movement is in the spirit of chamber music with the orchestra, and the long lines and suspensions shared to great effect in building to the dramatic climax of the movement before bringing us peace, warmth and resolution in the final phrases. To me it feels like a perfect piece of music both to play and to listen to!’ 

Roberts will perform the Elgar Cello Concerto in a concert celebrating the 50th anniversaries of both the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) and Manchester Camerata. Taking place on 9 December 2022 at the RNCM Concert Hall, the programme will also consist of a joint commission of a new piece by college alumna Carmel Smickersgill and Beethoven Symphony no.6 ‘Pastoral’. RNCM students will perform alongside Manchester Camerata professionals in a ‘joint birthday party’ celebration and collaboration.

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