Aureole etc.

Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line

Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

Cello Sonata Op 19
Cello Sonata Op 40
Gwyneth George cello
Alberto Portugheis piano
Recorded Christ Church Chelsea October 1970 (Rachmaninov) and February 1971 (Shostakovich)
GUILD GMCD 7219 [54.56]



Guild returns to the catalogue these recordings from thirty years ago, first issued by Unicorn. In their day the disc faced serious enough competition from the likes of Tortelier and Ciccolini, Fournier and Fonda, and Shafran and Pecherskaya. Now the competition is wider if not necessarily deeper than the above trio.

The better performance is that of the Shostakovich. George and Portugheis are good chamber players and bring an impressive sense of direction and meaning to the work. The cellist’s tone is lean with an attractive core to her sound; with Portugheis, who plays impressively throughout, they bring to the Shostakovich sympathetic understanding of true chamber proportions. In the Rachmaninov I have some reservations. One feels here that the pianist is more inclined to linger over Rachmaninov’s melodies than is the cellist; there is something of a lack of force and tonal variety to her playing here as well which acts to blunt the romantic impress of the music, especially in the andante which is fleet and unsentimental, played as a song without words, and whilst not unmoving still leaving things unsaid. Their commitment to architectural cogency is admirable but comes at a price.

The recorded sound has come up well and naturally. There are plenty of star name performers of these sonatas – if you can find it this coupling was available on Revelation RV10017 with Shafran and Jacov Flyer – but if your preference is for intimacy, tonal reticence and chamber compatibility then this disc has its rewards.

Jonathan Woolf

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