RUBBRA; RAWSTHORNE; MOERAN Sonatas fro Cello and Piano
Here’s another absorbing volume of British masterworks for cello and piano, all three of which date from the 1940s and are played with understanding, commitment and irreproachable technical skill.
The account of the G minor Sonata that Rubbra wrote in 1946 for the cellist William Pleeth and his wife Margaret Good impresses by dint of its intrepid emotional scope and unfailing lucidity, these performers proving acutely responsive to this music’s deeply nourishing contrapuntal and spiritual reach. Likewise, Moeran’s gripping A minor Sonata receives hugely eloquent treatment, the playing as rich-toned and ardent as one could hope to hear. Moeran thought it one of his very best things – a verdict triumphantly borne out by the sustained intensity of expression of the anguished slow movement, which in turn plunges without a break into an excitingly taut rondo finale. If you don’t yet know this riveting piece, let me urge investigation. Satisfyingly compact, meatily argued and impeccably crafted, Rawsthorne’s 1948 C major Sonata represents another durably rewarding creation. It was written for Anthony Pini, and, like all three works here, will certainly repay closer scrutiny.
With ideally intimate sound emanating from Dunwich’s Potton Hall and perspicacious booklet-notes by the late Calum MacDonald, this is a superlative issue in every way.