Stories » Sheku Kanneh-Mason navigates beauty and anguish on Elgar recording and is the WCRB: CD of the Week

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Sheku Kanneh-Mason navigates beauty and anguish on Elgar recording and is the WCRB: CD of the Week

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Britain's Sheku Kanneh-Mason family is a phenomenon – seven sibling classical musicians from Nottingham who have been profiled in documentaries seen around the world. The mystery of deep musical talent seems even more intriguing when it visits an entire family, but every voice is unique, and the Kanneh-Masons say they are tightly enough knit to be supportive of each other as individuals. 

When Sheku won the 2016 BBC Young Musician of the Year award, he became the first black musician ever to win it. He played to an audience of a billion at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. He's been on the cover of GQ Magazine. And he's just been appointed as a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for services to music in Britain's 2020 New Year's Honours list. He's accomplished all of this while continuing to study at London's Royal Academy. Now, he's had the spectacular good fortune of working with Sir Simon Rattle on a recording of one of the most loved pieces of music in England, Elgar's Cello Concerto.

On this new album, the Concerto is the centerpiece of a collection of arrangements of pieces written around the same time, all of which bring you into the dramatically rich and colorful sound world of the cello. Sheku's warm and burnished sound meets you at the very beginning in his solo cello arrangement of the traditional Northumbrian folk tune Blow the Wind Southerly. He says that Kathleen Ferrier's 1949 recording was the inspiration for it:

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