On 27 November Francisco Coll premiered his Cello Concerto for Sol Gabetta, with Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France. The commission for the Cello Concerto was led by Kammerorchester Basel with the support of the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia, with co-commissioners Radio France and BBC Radio 3. The concert will be broadcast on Radio France on 13 January and available to stream for one month.

On 18 January Coll conducts Gabetta and the Kammerorchester Basel in the Swiss premiere of the Cello Concerto in Zug. The 20-minute work is cast in four unbroken movements. The jerky, syncopated rhythms of the first movement are suggestive of Argentinian Tango. After the brilliant opening, the second movement turns to transparent and crystalline sonorities, before a more agitated waltz sequence breaks through. The third movement, Misterioso, sees an impassioned song-like soliloquy from the cello against a numinous backdrop of strings, before a cadenza. The Festoso finale bursts forth with a gesture that turns the work’s opening on its head.

Across four connected movements, the concerto allowed Coll (…conducting with gravity and maturity…) to highlight the virtuosity of Gabetta. The syncopated rhythms of the Giocoso contrast with the two slow middle movements (out of which a long cadenza emerges). With repeated descending lines, the Festoso finale offers a beautiful concluding energy… one wanted to hear Coll conduct a whole programme.

ResMusica (Vincent Guillemin), 1 December 2022

The Cello Concerto is Coll’s latest collaboration with Gabetta. In 2018 she premiered his double concerto Les Plaisirs Illuminés with Patricia Kopatchinskaja; their recording of the work, conducted by Coll, won the concerto prize at the 2022 BBC Music Magazine Awards. The duo also premiered Coll’s violin and cello duo Rizoma in 2018, subsequently recording and touring the piece.

In 2022 Coll has been active as a conductor of his music. In April he joined the Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg at the ICMA awards for a performance of Aqua Cinerea; in May he conducted the world premiere of Lilith with the Orquestra de València. In August Coll led the Finnish premiere of Hímnica with the Fiskars Festival Orchestra. A multi-season partnership with the Orquesta Sinfónica del Principado de Asturias will see Coll return to the podium over the coming years in Asturias.