Rubbra/Moeran/Ireland

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COMPOSERS: Rubbra/Moeran/Ireland
LABELS: Marco Polo
WORKS: Cello Sonatas
PERFORMER: Raphael Wallfisch (cello)John York (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 8.223718 DDD
These Marco Polo discs explore some interesting byways of British chamber music. The four cello sonatas, by Rubbra, Moeran, Ireland and Truscott, make for some fascinating contrasts of approach, within the framework offered by the Classical three- or four-movement structure. Those by Moeran and Ireland, in particular, capture each composer at the height of his powers. With attractive and strongly characterised material cogently delivered, these pieces confirm that there are many discoveries to be made in this area of the repertory. Wallfisch and York perform with skill and sensitivity both here and in Rubbra’s wide ranging Sonata, while the recording is nicely atmospheric.

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The Truscott Cello Sonata (1982-87) finds the composer attempting a closely argued approach, full of earnest gestures. The Marco Polo recording, made in Budapest, is close and sometimes rather fierce, which serves to emphasise the music’s seriousness of purpose. The most attractive pieces are probably the Meditation for solo cello (1946), with a beautifully lyrical opening section, and the Trio (1950), in which the contrasts between the instruments are imaginatively drawn. Terry Barfoot