Press reaction to the Finzi Cello Concerto

Robert Cohen, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Paul Daniel
Cadogan Hall, London 2008

“with such impassioned playing from Cohen, equally convincing in the declamatory episodes as in the lyrical rapture, the concerto almost feels like Finzi’s large-scale masterpiece…Cohen’s championship is hugely welcome.” John Allison, Sunday Telegraph

“Robert Cohen was a magnificent soloist, and a very persuasive advocate for this demanding work; he played it as if he’s been playing it all his life. His interpretation of the lyrical music – and there is a lot of it in this work – brought out the songlike quality of Finzi’s ideas, and if there’s one thing Finzi’s music does do, it sings.” Bob Briggs, Seen and Heard

“Strong emotions are at work in this music. Cohen, the RPO and conductor Paul Daniel expressed them forcefully, allowing the passion full rein and cosseting the more tender, calmer moments of the central andante.” Geoffrey Norris, The Telegraph

“Two thirds of Gerald Finzi's Cello Concerto - his last major work, first performed in 1955 - is an outstanding score, as fine as anything composed for the instrument since Elgar's concerto. ... a tone of regretful nostalgia haunts the first two movements. But that is blown away by the forced jauntiness of the finale, a parading of the proverbial English stiff upper lip that doesn't transfer well to music. Yet, as Robert Cohen's passionately eloquent performance with the Royal Philharmonic in the orchestra's English music series showed, much of what precedes that problematic last movement is remarkable: Finzi's particular brand of lyricism is as finely focused here as anywhere in his output, and the central andante's fleeting references to the Angel's music from Elgar's Dream of Gerontius are immensely touching.” Andrew Clements, The Guardian

reviewRobert Cohen