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Cat. No. CHAN 10189 Price: £0 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 10189 - Britten & Kodaly: Solo Cello Works
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Available From: 05 April 2004
When Kodály composed his Sonata, Op. 8 in 1915 it was the first important work for unaccompanied cello since Bach’s suites written almost two centuries earlier, and today it is a cornerstone of the cello’s repertoire. Although we may think we hear fragments of children’s songs, melodic turns from a folk dance, or phrases from a lament, there are no quotations in the sonata. Instead Kodály created his own style, combining the melodic character, modes and expressive nature of the Hungarian folk music he had collected before the War with a sophisticated performance technique developed in the concert hall.

The first suite for solo cello by Benjamin Britten is one of five works for that instrument inspired by the composer’s encounter with Mstislav Rostropovich. The great Russian cellist’s abilities on the instrument and his powerful personality were particularly vital sources of inspiration. However, Britten seems also to have had Bach’s cello suites on his mind when writing his own three suites. Suite No. 1 is a work of elegiac, intimate moods, especially in the heart-rending Lamento and the quiet Bordone whose continuously ringing bass note conjures a trance-like atmosphere.

Written in 1976, Tema ‘Sacher’ is one of the last pieces Britten completed. It was written at the request of Rostropovich, who had asked a number of composers to contribute a variation for solo cello to celebrate the seventieth birthday of the Swiss conductor Paul Sacher. As Britten was already seriously ill, he offered to write the theme rather than a variation. Despite the composer’s ill health, the piece shows no signs of frailty. The letters of Sacher’s name are hammered out in a majestic series of notes which form the basis of the musical progression.
Reviews

'Thomsen is a Rolls Royce among players.'
Classic FM Magazine

Thomsen is a Rolls Royce among players.
Classic FM Magazine

But despite the formidable competition [in the Kodály] Thomsens is a fine state-of-the-rendition.
International Record Review

'But despite the formidable competition [in the Kodály] Thomsen's is a fine state-of-the-rendition.'
International Record Review

'Thomsen is highly talented and we shall undoubtedly be hearing more of him.'
BBC Music Magazine

'Henrik Dam Thomsen is a splendid player, technically assured, showing strong rapport with both the main works.'
Gramophone

'This young Danish cellist' is clearly someone to watch. His debut recording begins in outstanding fashion. I was bowled over by the epic, decalmatory style of the opening of the Kodály Sonata and by the beautifully clear sound of the recording.'
The Strad

'This is a young man with a good attitude, accurate fingers, and a bow arm with control. I will follow his career with interest.'
American Record Guide

Thomsen is highly talented and we shall undoubtedly be hearing more of him.
BBC Music Magazine

 

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