The Cellist of Sarajevo: chamber music by David Wilde

David Wilde – extraordinary pianist and musician, pupil of Franz Reizenstein and Nadia Boulanger – is the veteran of nine Delphian piano recordings, documenting his remarkable Indian summer as a performer. Now, the label turns to his compositional output: cellist Robert Irvine and his colleagues in Red Note Ensemble survey the works that emerged from Wilde’s ‘Bosnian’ period, when he travelled to besieged Sarajevo to help preserve the city’s cultural life, earning him the friendship of colleagues including the heroic members of the Sarajevo String Quartet.

Wilde has made his home in Scotland since his retirement from teaching in Hanover, and the respect in which he is held by the leading chamber musicians of his adopted country shines through here, in their performances of music which recalls his earlier life in Central Europe and bears witness to a dark period in late twentieth-century history.

"Wilde’s music exudes technical assurance, craftsmanship and an in-depth understanding of instruments gained through his own experiences as a performer. The results are truly memorable…a musical voice that communicates with the immediacy and authenticity of direct, lived experience."

"This is music to memorialise, to bear witness and to remind us of our complicity...Red Note Ensemble are entirely at one with this sometimes screamingly emotive music, in accounts bristling with conviction and drama, but which also show admirable restraint. Violinist Jacqueline Shave sounds like an actor giving a soliloquy in the suite, alive to the fine nuances of Wilde’s long lines, and when cellist Robert Irvine takes over for the closing movement, he shapes every note with careful intent in a noble, highly moving account."


"Anyone with a belief in a possibility of "abstract" or "pure music" needs to listen to this album's transition from the aching lament of the title piece–composed by David Wilde to celebrate the famous act of musical defiance by Vedran Smailovic in the face of the bloodshed in his hometown in 1992"

Producer: Paul Baxter
Release Date: 18 November 2016
Catalogue No: DCD34179
Total playing time: 1:24:28

Featured interview


David Wilde on music and politics

The composer and pianist talks to Kate Molleson on his life in music, and the story behind The Cellist of Sarajevo.


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