Grieg: Cello Concerto (arr. from Cello Sonata); Songs arr. for cello & orchestra

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LABELS: Black Box
WORKS: Cello Concerto (arr. from Cello Sonata); Songs arr. for cello & orchestra
PERFORMER: Raphael Wallfisch (cello); LPO/Vernon Handley
Some years ago the virtuoso Gary Karr asked Joseph Horovitz to make an arrangement of the Grieg Cello Sonata for double bass and orchestra. His scoring was for double wind, two trumpets, four horns, harp, percussion and strings, but no trombones in view of the range and timbre of the double bass. And last year Benjamin Wallfisch, son of the soloist here, rescored it to suit the cello. Grieg himself was rather hard on the Cello Sonata and did not rate it highly, even reproaching his first biographer Gerhard Schjelderup for being too kind to it. To be fair, there are moments when his muse is on autopilot, but there are many more that are distinguished by his characteristic freshness, spontaneity and resource. There are obvious echoes of the Piano Concerto in the first movement, perhaps planting the idea of turning it into a concerto, though by its musical nature it still remains an orchestrated sonata. The theme of the slow movement bears a close resemblance to the Homage March from Sigurd Jorsalfar. Raphael Wallfisch plays with ardour and eloquence, and is well supported by Vernon Handley and the LPO. Grieg’s songs are more than their melodic line, being intimately related to the music of their Norwegian texts. However, if we are to have them in their present form, they could not be better served. Robert Layton