Unsung presents cellist Sophie Kauer’s performances of works by
Nadia Boulanger, Anatoly Lyadov, Felix Mendelssohn and Clara Schumann
Sophie Kauer has captivated cinema audiences worldwide with her performance as cellist Olga Metkina in Todd Field’s latest film TÁR. The 21-year-old British-German cellist and actress has also now recorded her first EP for Deutsche Grammophon. Entitled Unsung, it presents works by Nadia Boulanger, Clara Schumann, Anatoly Lyadov and Felix Mendelssohn. Sophie is partnered here by pianist Kunal Lahiry, a current BBC New Generation Artist and recipient of the 2021 Carl Bechstein Foundation scholarship. Unsung is set for digital release on 17 March 2023.
Sophie Kauer responded to the TÁR casting call after a friend sent her a link to the open audition for the role of Olga. She thought it would just be a fun experience, but ended up being chosen from hundreds of hopefuls and soon began rehearsing with Academy Award winner Cate Blanchett.
The cellist is now keen to draw fans of TÁR deeper into the world of classical music. “This is beautifully written, classy music. I didn’t want to compromise on quality, so rather than offering crossover as the way in, I wanted to show that classical music itself can be very accessible,” she explains. The double meaning of her chosen title, Unsung, reflects both the songlike quality of her chosen repertoire and her desire “to promote music by female composers, voices that have been relatively unheard for so long, as well as some other pieces that are not as well-known as they deserve to be”.
The EP opens with the first of Clara Schumann’s Three Romances Op. 22. “It’s so warm and youthful,” Sophie observes, “and has so much emotion packed into such a short space of time.” She describes the Prelude from Lyadov’s Morceaux Op. 11 as “icy sadness” and the first of Mendelssohn’s Songs without Words Op. 30 as like “a mixture of going to sleep and the dream that follows”.
The recording also includes the last of Nadia Boulanger’s Three Pieces, originally written for organ in 1914 and later transcribed by the composer for cello and piano. “It’s very sassy and bold, a lot of fun to play and quite sarcastic,” says Sophie. A video for this track has been filmed by the same team – including director Mateusz Miszczyński – that created the video for Hania Rani and Dobrawa Czocher’s Malasana, winner of the 2022 Opus Klassik Video Clip of the Year award. This will be released simultaneously with the digital EP, while the Clara Schumann recording comes out as an e‑single on 8 March to coincide with International Women’s Day.