Hurlstone, Harty, Parry

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3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

COMPOSERS: Harty,Hurlstone,Parry
LABELS: Dutton Epoch
WORKS: Cello Sonata in D
PERFORMER: Andrew Fuller (cello), Michael Dussek (piano)
The title of this disc is misleading: ‘The Romantic Cello’ brings to mind Brahms, Schumann, Dvorák – certainly not the three composers featured here. More precisely this is late Victorian/Edwardian cello music, none of it already in the catalogue.


All of the pieces are early works. Parry’s Sonata was penned in a hurry during a period of ill health in 1879. Perhaps because of this it failed to satisfy him, and he later reworked many passages and entirely recast the Andante sostenuto. This new movement is the most moving in an otherwise pleasing but somehow unmemorable work.

The four-movement sonata by William Yeates Hurlstone, published by friends after his untimely death, proves to be serious, well-written music rather in the style of Brahms, strong on motivic development and with a strident, optimistic opening.

Hamilton Harty is better remembered as a ground-breaking conductor, responsible for the UK premieres of Mahler and Shostakovich symphonies, than as a composer of the sort of light salon music featured here. But every composer has to start somewhere, and London’s high-society soirées were a good place for the young Irishman to make a name and earn some money. Fuller plays these ephemeral pieces with conviction and affection.


Apart from this, the performances are good but unexciting; though the disc might be worth buying for its interest value. Janet Banks