Hedges, Schumann (Transcr. Gledhill), Hindemith & Weill

Our rating 
3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

COMPOSERS: Hedges,Hindemith & Weill,Schumann (Transcr. Gledhill)
LABELS: Rhinosaurus
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Works for Cello & Piano
WORKS: Works
PERFORMER: Oliver Gledhill (cello), Julian Milford (piano)
Gledhill has a distinguished ancestry: five generations of string players, including his grandfather, Russian cellist Boris Spivakovsky. I was very impressed by his 1997 Boëllmann disc, but less enamoured of this CD. The combination of works does not make a musically satisfying programme and the sound lacks immediacy and freshness.

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Weill’s youthful Sonata has touches of late Romanticism and Impressionism. Only in the last movement’s spiky, satirical theme, effectively characterised by Gledhill, do we get a taste of the Weill of the Threepenny Opera of eight years later. Somehow this performance, especially the meandering first movement, failed to sell the piece to me.

The first movement of Hindemith’s Solo Sonata, too, sounds tired. There is some lovely, expressive playing in the slow movement, though, both in the high tessitura and in the resonant lower strings.

I was glad to be introduced to the music of Anthony Hedges (b1931). Especially in Exchanges, his musical voice comes across as both forceful and genuine. This and Schumann’s Three Romances are the most successful tracks. Gledhill and Milford work well together and have a real affinity for Schumann, with just the right amount of rubato and portamento.

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The booklet gives more information than most readers would want – Hedges has five grandchildren, for instance – in reams of tiny print. Janet Banks