WORKS: Cello Sonata No. 1 in E minor, Op. 38; Cello Sonata 2 in F, Op. 99
PERFORMER: Jacqueline du Pré (cello); Israel PO/Daniel Barenboim (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: CDC 5 57293 2 ADD mono
These performances of Brahms’s cello sonatas (which appered in Christopher Nupen’s film Who was Jacqueline du Pré?) shouldn’t be confused with du Pré and Barenboim’s Abbey Road remakes, from May and August 1968, which are coupled with sonatas by Franck and Chopin on EMI CZS 5 74203 2 (2 discs). Bruch’s Kol nidrei was recorded in London during a visit by the Israel Philharmonic, with fragments of the performance also used in Nupen’s documentary.
Sonically, these mono recordings are not ideal. The sonatas, especially, are inferior to the later stereo versions, having unwarranted expressive licence and questionable rhythmic freedom. Du Pré devotees will doubtless want to investigate the stereo Brahms transfers anyway, but as a benchmark reference, try the impressive Channel Classics disc from Wispelwey and Komen. Collectors also requiring the Klengel transcription of Brahms’s D major Violin Sonata, Op. 78, should consider Maria Kliegel’s bargain Naxos disc, though pianist Kristin Merscher’s accompaniments can be too circumspect, especially in Op. 99. Michael Jameson