Rachmaninoff: Cello Sonata; Vocalise,

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Rachmaninoff
LABELS: Black Box
WORKS: Cello Sonata; Vocalise,
PERFORMER: Moray Welsh (cello), Martin Roscoe (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: BBM 1044
On the evidence of this impressive new performance, Moray Welsh probably has stronger credentials in Rachmaninoff’s majestic Cello Sonata than any other British cellist of his generation, having studied under Rostropovich (one of its greatest interpreters) at the Moscow Conservatory. And in Martin Roscoe, he has a collaborator fully able to meet its titanic keyboard demands.

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While it would be difficult to praise their vivid, forthright performance too highly, it doesn’t eclipse the equally fine collaboration between Truls Mørk and Jean-Yves Thibaudet on Virgin. But I’d find it hard to choose between the two. Certainly the new reading is often more muscular and declamatory, though Mørk explores the shadowy introspection and world-weariness of the piece in a way that’s no less compelling.

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The balance of this issue is given over to Rachmaninoff’s shorter works for these instruments, mainly transcriptions, the most familiar being the celebrated Vocalise. Again the performances are superb, and since Mørk and Thibaudet offer only the Vocalise and the Op. 2 pairing (Prelude and Danse orientale) and a definitive account of the Miaskovsky Op. 12 Sonata as fillers, Welsh and Roscoe provide the more revealing and complete overview of Rachmaninoff’s music for cello. Michael Jameson