WORKS: Cello Sonatas
PERFORMER: Jamie Walton (cello), Daniel Grimwood (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: SIGCD 172
There are so many good – and characterful – young cellists emerging at the moment, I just hope there are enough dates to go round. And now onto this crowded stage comes Jamie Walton, a knockout talent very much in the British individualist tradition.
He’s partnered by the equally individual Daniel Grimwood, and they make a wonderful team. But when I say ‘individual’ I absolutely don’t mean eccentric or mannered. In fact what I love about both these performances is their spontaneity, flow and warmth, their natural ease with the idiom of both composers. Walton achieves a fabulous legato in the Rachmaninov’s Sonata, so that one feels it is really being sung, with no instrumental hardware getting in the way of the line, particularly in the liquescent Andante.
There’s a reckless enjoyment to the Scherzo, and he also produces a sufficiently burnished, brassy sound in the finale to leap free of the piano’s heavy part, but with a touch as sensitive as Grimwood’s one feels even a smaller-toned cello would shine. This performance stands comparison with the very best.
Grieg’s Sonata is a more challenging work to negotiate. While this performance shows its awkward corners, there is a strong sense of dance which vivifies the whole reading. Walton can produce a special purity of tone, heard to great effect in a searching slow movement, but he also lets the air into his bowing in a highly articulate Allegro agitato. Perhaps his energy flags a little towards the end of the taxing finale, but both players create a blazing climax, in which we taste the extent of their charismatic daring. Highly recommended. Helen Wallace