Lutosławski, Maconchy, Hindemith, Patterson & Kopytman

COMPOSERS: Hindemith,Lutosławski,Maconchy,Patterson & Kopytman
LABELS: Nimbus
ALBUM TITLE: 20th century works for cello and strings
WORKS: Works by Lutosławski, Maconchy, Hindemith, Patterson & Kopytman
PERFORMER: Raphael Wallfisch (cello); South West German CO, Pforzheim/William Boughton
Only the Lutosławski Grave and the Hindemith Trauermusik are much recorded, so this is a useful and varied collection. There’s no doubting Raphael Wallfisch’s commitment to this music, and his sonorous, focused playing makes the most of Lutosławski’s intense accelerando and Hindemith’s concentrated mourning. Maconchy’s Epyllion is a powerful work, and it’s powerfully played, from its grinding opening chords, through a lively scherzo, a series of cadenzas, and a return to the opening material for a dark ending. Despite some use of aleatoric techniques, the melodic lines are passionate and indefinably English in their modal contours, though with a foreign accent which reminds me of Flos Campi by Maconchy’s one-time teacher Vaughan Williams. There’s also an English accent in Patterson’s Cello Concerto, with passion in the rich interweaving lines of the opening slow movement, before a long cadenza leads to the virtuosic dance finale, which finds all the players on their mettle. After that, the Jewish inflections of Kopytman’s Kaddish come from a different world, one which Wallfisch also inhabits with complete assurance.The South West German Chamber Orchestra is always sympathetic in its support, despite the odd moment of shaky ensemble, and the recording doesn’t allow the all-string textures to become clogged.