Jo Cole / John Talbot

English Cello Sonatas

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With three world premieres of three major works by three nearly unknown composers, this two-disc set presents fans of 20th century British music with what could have been a marvelous collection of performances. Instead, there are three dedicated, sincere, but unfortunately, not altogether successful performances. The three sonatas for cello and piano seem convincing enough; John Foulds' sonata mysteriously evocative, Ernest Walker's impetuously passionate, and York Bowen's lithely lyrical. The performers, though, are unable to do the music justice. Cellist Jo Cole has a warm (but small) tone and a winning way of spinning out a phrase, but she has trouble projecting. Pianist John Talbot has a strong tone and a solid technique, but his playing often covers the cello, and he occasionally seems to be having trouble with the notes. Recorded in rather heavy digital sound, this disc is likely to be of interest only to fans of Foulds, Walker, and Bowen.

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