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Cat. No. CHAN 10741 Price: £10.5 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 10741 - British Works for Cello and Piano, Volume 1
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Available From: 01 October 2012
British Works for Cello and Piano, Volume 1

In the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries many British composers produced superb works for cello and piano, but few of these actually made their way into the general repertoire. Here we have four very different works by four very distinct musical personalities, performed by the cellist Paul Watkins, an exclusive Chandos artist, accompanied by his brother, Huw Watkins.
 
The sonata by Frederick Delius is the most widely known of the four pieces. Composed in a single, concise movement, it opens with a tune that sounds at one moment bold, and at the next wistful. The music progresses in the almost endless melodic flow so characteristic of Delius, before dissolving into a dream-like state, and finally, rising to a triumphant, full-hearted climax.
 
By the beginning of the 1900s, Sir Hubert Parry, as Director of the Royal College of Music, and patron of many musical institutions, was probably the most influential figure in British music. His Cello Sonata is a work of high romanticism, tempered by firm structural control and the organic development of themes – as befits a composer who had aspired (although unsuccessfully) to study with Brahms. The melodic language could in fact be described as Brahmsian, although Parry does not stringently imitate Brahms’s style, and in terms of structure, Parry’s strongly lyrical sonata owes little to the work which might have seemed a natural model – Brahms’s Sonata in E minor.
 
Sir Granville Bantock took much of his inspiration from distant and exotic shores. The term ‘Hamabdil’ refers to a hymn traditionally sung after the blessings said at the conclusion of the Jewish Sabbath. Bantock’s evocative elaboration of this traditional tune is austere and dignified, and originated in an entr’acte which was part of the incidental music that he had written for Arnold Bennett’s play Judith, premiered in London in 1919.
 
Out of the four composers on this album, only John Foulds was a professional cellist. His sonata is a big and bold work, romantically expressive and emotionally charged, with a complex structure in place, and virtuoso writing for both instruments. In fact, in this true duo-sonata, it is the pianist, not the cellist, who often has the harder task to perform.

Reviews

“A strongly –programmed disc ... The Watkins – Paul on cello and Huw on piano – bring these intriguingly different works to life with confident and cerebral playing. The balance and sound are good, and the booklet is well presented, with intelligent and informative notes.”
EM Marshall-Luck – Spirited-The Gazette of the English Music Festival – December 2012  

“... The Watkinses play with polish and verve...”
 
David Moore – American Record Guide – March/April 2013

 "...Eloquent British cello works receive ardent advocacy...  a fine release which certainly whets the appetite for volume two." ****½

 
Clive Paget - Limelight magazine - March 2013 

                       **** - Excellent

 
Bernado Pieri – Musica magazine – March 2013
 

“...Paul Watkins continues his Chandos series , this time in duo with his composer-pianist brother Huw, with a neatly planned and recorded progamme ...”

 Edward Bhesania – The Strad – February 2013

"The Watkins brothers explore century-straddling cello works. it is particularly gratifying to see that the rich repertoire of 19th-and early 20th century British cello music, like its considerable counterpart for the violin, is at last being acknowledged and , in performances of this excellence, insight and clarity, the works on this recording surely deserve to be aired more frequently..."
 
Jeremy Dibble - Gramophone magazine - February 2013
 

 "... Throughout, there is keen emotional input from both performers. This well-balanced, highly enjoyable and excellently recorded programme begins a series that surely has numerous instalments to come, with the cello sonatas of Standford, Bridge, Bax, Ireland and Moeran - to name just a few - hopefully being candidates for the much-anticipated forthcoming releases."
Ben Hogwood - ClassicalSource.com - 26 December 2012

 "... all nicely played by Paul and Hugh Watkins ..."
Peter Spaull - Liverpool Daily Post - 20 December 2012

 “...On this Chandos disc the Watkins brothers make a fine partnership clearly relishing this type of repertory. Both easily adapt to the demands of the writing playing with precision and rich expression yet when necessary they demonstrate their sensitivity. The playing is technically secure with both instruments having an attractive timbre. Recorded at the Potton Hall the sound quality is very acceptable, clear with an excellent balance. Lovers of British chamber music will want to own this release.”

 
Michael Cookson – MusicWeb-International.com – 30 November 2012

          Performance ****      Recording ****
Geoff Brown - BBC Music magazine - December 2012


“... Paul Watkins shows himself once again to be peerless in this repertory, while Huw demonstrates that his sparkling playing can be as effective in music of this period as it is so regularly in contemporary repertoire. They lavish great care and good sense on everything here...”
Andrew Clements – The Guardian – 4 October 2012

           IRR Outstanding
“...Quite frankly, this is a marvellous release: for the intriguing music, the superb performances and the first-class sound ...”
Colin Anderson – International Record Review – October 2012

 

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