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Sheku Kanneh-Mason, winner of Young Musician of the Year 2016, is a huge talent. He cites his c1610 Amati cello as one of his inspirations, plus Casals, du Pré and Rostropovich. His Shostakovich Concerto No 1 at the Barbican (NYO, April 2017) had incredible energy; this recorded version rather less so. The orchestra is too polite and careful, and while one can marvel at Kanneh- Mason’s technical achievements and his resonance with Shostakovich, the sense of connection between soloist and orchestra is missing. No surprise then that the solo cadenza is the high point of this reading.

The balance of pieces is interesting if sometimes saturated with syrup (Saint-Saëns’ ‘Swan’, Shostakovich’s Gadfly Nocturne); the best of the rest is Kanneh-Mason’s own arrangement of Bob Marley’s No Woman, No Cry.

COLIN CLARKE Read the full review on Agora Classica

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