Tasmanian-born composer Peter Sculthorpe asserts that the cello is one of his favorite musical instruments. In listening to this collection of works for the instrument composed between 1959 and 1997, this becomes abundantly clear. Sculthorpe seems to demonstrate a special connection with the instrument and writes directly to its strengths: soulful lyricism, the widest range of all of the string instruments (augmented even further by his use of scordatura in the Requiem), and an impressive palate of extended techniques. Sculthorpe is also unique in that instead of composing for specific cellists, he often writes with very specific instruments in mind, such as the Stradavarius "Monk" cello once played by Feuermann. His compositional subjects are equally as varied, ranging from liturgical plainsong in the Requiem for cello alone to settings of aboriginal chants and songs.
Performing his works are friends and colleagues David Pereira on cello and Ian Munro on piano. Pereira's technique is very clean and precise, though his sound occasionally comes across as slightly angular where at times a richer, warmer sound may be preferred. Given the incredible technical demands of the music, his intonation is impeccable. Munro's accompaniment is gentle and subdued, allowing the cello to shine through without having to compete. Most perplexing, however, is that the piano itself sometimes appears to be out of tune.