A new album featuring cellist and former King’s chorister Guy Johnston is released today on the King’s College Label. Tecchler’s Cello: From Cambridge to Rome includes performances by the Choir of King’s College, Cambridge, Sheku Kanneh-Mason, Tom Poster, Magnus Johnston and the Orchestra of the Accademia di Santa Cecilia under the direction of Carlo Rizzari.
The album features three specially-commissioned works for cello, as well as music by Beethoven, Barrière, Respighi and Ola Gjeilo. Different pieces were recorded in different locations, with the Gjeilo O magnum mysterium recorded in King’s College Chapel with the Choir of King’s College Cambridge, and the Respighi Adagio con Variazioni recorded in Rome’s premiere concert hall at the Accademia di Santa Cecilia.
Guy Johnston is one of the most exciting and versatile British cellists of his generation, beginning his musical journey as a chorister by joining his brothers in the world-renowned Choir of King’s College, Cambridge, under the tutelage of Stephen Cleobury. He went on to achieve early success through the BBC Young Musician of the Year title, and it is fitting that he is joined on this album by another winner of the BBC Young Musician title, Sheku Kanneh-Mason.
Guy plays a 1714 Tecchler cello, and for its third centenary he set out to celebrate the life of the instrument and its creator, commissioning a number of new works. He explains:
‘I began to ask myself lots of questions – How did David Tecchler end up settling in Rome, who was he making cellos for, and how did this cello come into my hands? What is my journey and role as a cellist in the 21st century? I decided to mark this anniversary by commissioning three works as gifts for the cello by celebrated British composers David Matthews, Mark Simpson and Charlotte Bray. I asked them to think of the role of the cello in the last three centuries and to let their imagination run wild.’
Guy’s inspiration then led him to Italy, taking his cello back home to get to the root of some of these questions. Joined by friends from both countries, recorded at locations close to his heart, and featuring works from across his cello’s 300 years, this album traces that musical journey, from Cambridge to Rome.