This release appears to be a sampler of several albums of British cello-and-piano music recorded between 2005 and 2010 for the British Music Society in presumably a single limited-edition run. Lovers of 20th century chamber music will be glad to have it, for the composers represented are sparsely heard even in Britain; William Busch, who died in 1945 after walking through a snowstorm to return to his young son, does not even appear on Wikipedia. All four of the works, even the Cello Sonata No. 2 of Arnold Cooke, composed in 1980, are in a conservative tonal idiom, but "Romantic" would not be quite the right word. The influence of Shostakovich, who had been proclaimed the greatest composer in the world by William Walton, looms over most of these works, which are heavily contrapuntal. The Partita, Op. 35, of Kenneth Leighton, from 1959, consists of an Elegy, a Scherzo, and a theme and six variations; it could be programmed profitably along with a cello sonata by Shostakovich or Prokofiev. The most purely Brahmsian piece is the Cello Sonata No. 2 in G minor, Op. 66, of the curiously named William Wordsworth, which achieves an epic intensity and does not really feel conservative. Nothing here is of earthshaking importance, but all four pieces have personality and did not deserve the oblivion to which they were consigned by a dictatorial modernism.
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AllMusic Review by James Manheim
|Suite for Cello & Piano|
|Partita, Op. 35|
|Cello Sonata No. 2 in G minor, Op. 66|
|Cello Sonata No. 2|