Throughout the process of shaping and rediscovering the concertos of Farr and Elgar, my performances became imbued with a duty of remembering and a unique approach that allowed me to mirror these two concertos.
The styles of the two works are very different, but there are similarities in their musical forms: they start and end with an emblematic theme and feel like ritual works – almost requiems. They are universal in scope and rooted in personal dramas connected to the First World War. Elgar was deeply affected by the slaughter in the trenches – at night he could hear the shelling from France from his house in Fittleworth, West Sussex – and may have been thinking of the death in battle of his ex-fiancée Helen Weaver’s son when he started work on the concerto. He completed it in 1919, when the Spanish flu continued to claim many young people’s lives. It was to be his final large-scale work.
Gareth Farr composed his concerto in memory of his three great-granduncles who were all killed in the Great War. Farr completed his concerto two days before the birth of my daughter Stella, in March 2017, and gave me an incredible gift by incorporating the name S.T.E.L.L.A. (E flat–B–E–A–A–A) into the final cadence, which symbolically represents HOPE.
At 100 years apart these two concertos are the testimony of the tragic years 1914–1918. But where there is life, hope is always reborn.
"The concerto was movingly conveyed by the persistent passion and poetry of soloist Sebastien Hurtaud."
The French concert cellist Sébastien Hurtaud was born in La Rochelle, France. Influenced by his family consisting of artists and skippers, the focus of Sébastien’s career has been on classical music and traveling around the world to discover new cultures and new composers, and to imbuing his interpretation of cello works from past centuries with this knowledge and experiences.
His new album dedicated to Elgar and Gareth Farr concertos with UK Rubicon Classics mirrors his artistic musical journey and has been recorded under the direction of Australian conductor Benjamin Northey and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. After numerous radio and press magazine appearances in France, UK, New Zealand, RTVE, USA Luxembourg, Sebastien has received many rave reviews with 5 stars in BBC Magazine, 5 stars in Musical opinion to name a few. The famous French critic Jean-Charles Hoffelé writes:
Sébastien Hurtaud grasps the work with a full bow, as André Navarra once did, a great sound that says as much as it sings. The admirable sound, ample, deep, will seek with his playing that suspends time before the flight of the Allegro molto, an embracing eloquence[…]
A pupil of legendary Russian/Armenian Cellist Karine Georgian Sebastien Hurtaud first garnered international attention in 2009, after winning the “Adam” International Cello Competition, established by Alexander Ivashkin. Since then, Sébastien has developed a career as a soloist in Europe, New Zealand and the USA, as well as his native France, as a live and recording artist.
Last seasons, Hurtaud performed the Offenbach’s virtuosic cello concerto, conducted by Philippe Hui and Sergio Alapont with the National orchestra of Bretagne, the Dvorak cello concerto with Metz National Orchestra, the Gareth Farr cello concerto with the New-Zealand Symphony Orchestra under the baton Hamish Mckeith. Sébastien debut performance in Poland featured him playing “Don Quichotte” by Richard Strauss with the Picardie and Silesian Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Arie Van Beek. Hurtaud performed Elgar cello concerto and Massenet’s Elegie with the French Republican Guard Orchestra conducted jointly by François Boulanger and Daniel Linton-France.
Hurtaud’s vast concert repertoire includes European, Russian, North and South American music. Sébastien was influenced by French composer, Claude Bolling, with whom he played the cross-over suite for cello and jazz trio. Sébastien is interested in a variety of styles and does not hesitate to play Classical music with jazz influences, like Kapustin’s second cello concerto, the cello suite and jazz trio by Claude Bolling and the concerto by Friedrich Gulda for wind orchestra and cello. He played the latter with the Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra, under the direction of Leos Swarovski. As a strong advocate of “new music”, he has commissioned or performed new music by international composers, such as Lucas Debargues, Youli Galperine, Jonathan Grimbert-Barré, Thomas Schwan, José Elizondo, Grégoire Igert and Gareth Farr.
"The Soul of a Rostropovish, the Virtuosity of a Feuermann"
Most of the time I am invited during my concert tours to give some masterclasses to young professional musicians whom I subsequently support by giving them regular lessons online.
Transmitting music through live or online music lessons has become a real passion and I am building since few month my international online class. To name a few I’m supporting some Chinese, American, Venezuelan, Dutch and French cello students to present the Juillard School , Yale University, Oberlin College, Lyon National Conservatory but also some orchestral auditions. Recently a duet cello and piano with whom I worked, entered in the chamber music class at the National Superior Conservatoire of music at Lyon.
I realized that today, countless videos exist on the Internet to promote self-taught music learning in the form of tutorials, but which ultimately leave the learner totally alone. Nothing beats a real musical exchange, even online.
Do not hesitate to contact me.
Looking forward to meet you!
Please click on thumbnails to enlarge pictures and videos.
"Sebastien is a cellist to watch because he has his own style of performance, a high level of imagination, and a combinaison of elegance and drive"
Listen the playlist which contains some Hurtaud's records, or enjoy a selection of his best photos and videos.
For futher information, please contact:
+33 (0) 608 770 738
Crédits Photos : Jerôme Grognet
Making-of disc Elgar Farr : Alexis Pautler