In January Francisco Coll conducted the Kammerorchester Basel and Sol Gabetta in the Swiss premiere of his 2022 Cello Concerto in Zug and Basel, as part of a programme of works by Turina, Martinů, and de Falla. 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 20-minute work is cast in four unbroken movements. After the jerky, syncopated rhythms of the opening (perhaps suggesting Argentinian Tango), 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.

In the extremes of the cello’s upper register the sound mingled with the violins…In the skilfully orchestrated, calmer middle movements, the noble sound of the instrument came into its own.

ZugerZeitung (Jürg Röthlisberger), 19 January 2023

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.

Coll continues to be active as a conductor of his music. A multi-season partnership with the Orquesta Sinfónica del Principado de Asturias will see Coll return to the podium over the coming years in Spain. Last 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.

Aqua Cinerea is scheduled to receive Finnish and Canadian premieres in March this year; it will be performed by the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Anna-Maria Helsing as part of the Musica nova Helsinki Festival and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra with Gustavo Gimeno respectively.