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Richard DRAKEFORD (b.1936) Cello Suite – for Rohan de Saram (1957-8) [9:22]
John R. WILLIAMSON (b.1929) Cello Sonata No.2 (2001) [22:46]
Vagn HOLMBOE (1909-1996) Solo Cello Sonata (1969) [19:27]
Diane Porteous (cello)
Kathryn Page (piano)
Recorded in The Whiteley Hall, Chetham’s School of Music, Manchester 2004


£10.95 from your local retailer or directly from
Dunelm Records, 2 Park Close, Glossop, Derbyshire SK13 7RQ
Telephone & Fax: 01457 855313
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It is good to have another CD from Dunelm Records which features Diane Porteous’s splendid cello playing. The first CD (DRD0196) comprised music of Robert Schumann, Matthew Taylor and Jean Sibelius. The new one consists entirely of première recordings, thus continuing Dunelm’s interesting – and enterprising – projects. In addition, it marks the début of Kathryn Page on the Dunelm label; her superb piano technique and musicality are greatly to be welcomed. This CD has given me my first opportunity to hear Kathryn play as well as that of hearing the three works it contains.

Richard Drakeford’s Cello Suite of 1957-8 was composed while he was still a student at Oxford University. It is dedicated to Rohan de Saram. Though a youthful work, it is most effective in its cello writing as well as in its construction, with much variety between the three well-contrasted movements. This performance brings out all of these features, sometimes moving, at other times humorous (especially in the pizzicato parts!), producing an enjoyable experience.

Only one of these three works is for cello and piano and that is John R. Williamson’s 2nd Cello Sonata of 2001. Here, each of the performers is of equal importance; the piano playing a significant role throughout. It particularly comes to the fore in the rather grand final section of the Finale where it is given the theme with imitations heard on the cello. The ensemble playing and balance is excellent, each player being fully aware of the other’s part, making for a most enjoyable and brilliant performance. The four movements are well contrasted with the composer’s characteristic harmonic style being clearly recognisable to those who have Dunelm’s CDs of some of his most rewarding piano music and songs. Particularly effective is the set of Variations that form the second movement. Throughout the work, the lyrical cello lines come over well, and there is also some humour at times!

It is sad that Vagn Holmboe’s magnificent Sonata for solo cello of 1969 (four movements) isn’t much better known. Diane Porteous must have made a thorough study of this technically difficult work in order to produce such an outstanding and satisfying performance with some lovely, ethereal harmonies in the third movement, and much humour in the finale.

The order of the three works on this CD works really well, and the CD booklet is excellent, with splendid photographs and well-written information on the music, the players and the composers. Details of related CDs are also given; only the fact that the works played here are première recordings seems to be missing from it.

The recording quality shows how excellent a job Jim Pattison always carries out.

Very highly recommended.

Ian Milnes


* Ian Milnes (b.1943) grew up in a musical family in Leeds. At the age of eleven he took up the violin and, when thirteen, the viola, and began to compose. He has been composing for 48 years during which time – being ever conscious of the needs of young musicians – he has written a variety of music for them to enjoy playing. By 2002, he had written over 120 works.
Although a qualified textiles technician, Ian decided to change course and became Tutor-Librarian at Leeds Music Centre (now the City of Leeds College of Music) in January 1969.
In 1973, ill health forced him to resign his post there, and he became manager of the book and score departments of Banks' music shop in York. He taught some music and continued composing during this period. Recently, he has been teaching composition and doing creative work with folk musicians, whilst developing his reviewing and critical facilities. He is the author of the booklet notes to Dunelm’s series of recordings of the complete set of Beethoven’s 32 Piano Sonatas played by Murray McLachlan.
Dunelm Records has compiled two CDs of his music, DRD0058 (mainly of historical interest) and DRD0059 of modern recordings of 15 of his works.

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