> RACHMANINOV Works for cello & piano [TB] : Classical Reviews- Oct 2002 MusicWeb(UK)

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Sergei RACHMANINOV (1873-1943)
Works for cello and piano

Sonata, Opus 19 (1901)
Prelude, Opus 2 No. 1 (1892)
Danse Orientale, Opus 2 No. 2 (1892)
Mélodie (1890)
Vocalise, Opus 34 No. 14 (1912, rev. 1915)
Lied (1890)
Let me rest here alone, Opus 26 No. 9 (1906)
How fair is this place, Opus 21 No. 7 (1902)
Spring Waters, Opus 14 No. 11 (1896)
Moray Welsh (cello), Martin Roscoe (piano)
Rec 16-17 December 1999, Potton Hall, Suffolk
BLACK BOX BBM1044 [68.18]
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Moray Welsh and Martin Roscoe make a distinguished duo combination, and their performance of the largest and most compelling work in this Rachmaninov collection - the Cello Sonata in G minor - is particularly successful. There is sweeping energy, momentum and thoughtful, sensitive phrasing, so that the richly romantic yearning which lies at the heart of this thoroughly idiomatic music, is delivered with the utmost conviction. In addition, the recorded sound is truthful, the acoustic warm. The opening of the Allegro mosso finale (TRACK 9: 0.00) is at once dramatic and full of feeling, and in that sense seems to summarise the whole performance. Neither artist seeks to make a show of virtuosity, so that the partnership always works in the service of the music.

Rachmaninov's romantic style suits the sound of the cello admirably, and the remainder of the programme consists of a series of miniatures, many of them transcriptions by the composer himself. Moray Welsh has himself provided the detailed and perceptive insert notes, and he describes these song transcriptions as 'a soulful outpouring of melody'. His performances live up to the implications of that strongly characterised description, none more than the celebrated Vocalise (TRACK 4: 0.00), a piece which could have been written by no other composer, and which exists in several alternative versions, each of them equally valid. Hearing it played by cello and piano works proves that it works admirably for this duo combination.

There are also some miniatures dating from the early years of Rachmaninov's career. It was for his friend Anatoly Brabdoukov that he composed the Prelude and Danse Orientale, Opus 2. The latter was inspired by the oriental opera Aleko, whereas the former was a transcription of an existing piano piece. The beguiling Danse (TRACK 2: 0.00) is beautifully played here, fluid in phrasing, languid in atmosphere, and with a beautifully warm tone.

Yet for all the attractions of this Rachmaninov disc, there is one major drawback, which has nothing to do with either the performances or the recording. In fact it is hard to see how the disc can make its way in the world. The register of new issues lists its number as BBM 1044, but this information is not contained on the product itself: neither on the box, nor in the booklet, nor on the disc itself. This is an extraordinary oversight which requires a drastic remedy.

Terry Barfoot


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Prelude Op.2, No.1

Danse Orientale Op.2, No.2

Melodie on a Theme

Vocalise Op.34, No,14


Sonata Op.19
Allegro - scherzando
Allegro mosso

Let Me Rest Here Alone Op.26, No.9

How Fair is this Place Op.21, No.7

Spring Waters no.11, op.14

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