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COMPOSERS: Stanford/Bridge/Ireland
WORKS: Cello Sonata No. 2; Cello Sonata in G minor; Elegy; Scherzetto
PERFORMER: Julian Lloyd Webber (cello), John McCabe (piano)
Put simply, this is just marvellous cello playing. Julian Lloyd Webber joins forces again with the pianist and composer John McCabe to produce a second volume of British music for cello and piano. This disc includes three world premiere recordings, two works by Frank Bridge and the wholly remarkable Second Cello Sonata in D minor by Stanford. Written in 1893, Stanford’s three-movement sonata could almost stand as the third cello sonata that Brahms never wrote. The expansiveness of the music draws passionate but beautifully shaded playing from Lloyd Webber, lyrical at the top of the register but also particularly resonant at the bottom. Bridge’s Elegy is wistful rather than tragic like Fauré’s sombre Elégie.


The surprise on this disc is Bridge’s Scherzetto, written in 1902. Lloyd Webber discovered it in the library of the Royal College of Music while still a student there, giving its first performance in only 1979. It is a brilliant, virtuoso work full of skittish zest which Lloyd Webber controls impressively; a perfect piece for an encore. Ireland’s Sonata written in 1923 is more conventional, but receives a highly committed performance from Lloyd Webber and the admirably neat-fingered John McCabe. Annette Morreau