Suite, completed in 1958 when
the composer was still a student at
Oxford University, was dedicated to
Rohan de Saram. The piece, in five short
and contrasted movements, is clearly
modelled on Bach’s suites for cello
but the music is audibly of our time.
It displays a remarkable assurance,
a real understanding of the instrument’s
qualities and a good deal of inventiveness.
This early piece, by no means an apprentice
work, is a considerable achievement,
comparable to Jolivet’s Suite
en concert for solo cello. Drakeford’s
music is, I am ashamed to say, new to
me. If his later output is anything
like as fine as this piece, I would
certainly want to hear more of it.
John R. Williamson
is a composer dear to my heart, whose
music I have come to admire sincerely.
It all began when I got to know some
of his piano music (Dunelm DRD 0134
and DRD 0176) and a selection of Housman
settings (Dunelm DRD 0133 and DRD 0218).
His Cello Sonata No.2,
completed a few years ago as a result
of the composer’s "total dissatisfaction
with the content of (my) first sonata",
is a substantial piece of music in four
movements, of which the second movement
- a theme and variations - is the weightiest.
The first movement functions as a prelude
stating material worked out in the following
movements. The theme and variations
explores a wide range of feelings and
emotions. This followed by a restless
and often troubled Scherzo. This imposing
work is capped by a grand finale ending
with powerful, emphatic chords. Undoubtedly
this is a major, mature work and a splendid
addition to the British repertoire for
cello. It certainly deserves wider exposure
and I sincerely hope that cellists will
put it quickly into their repertoire.
Though it is a work
dating from Holmboe’s full maturity,
the Sonata for Cello Op.101
is not unlike the Drakeford Cello
Suite. It is modelled on Bach’s
suites and includes a fugal movement
in which counterpoint is expertly suggested,
preceded by a weighty introduction.
This is followed by a slow Introduzione
functioning as a short slow movement
and as a bridge leading into the finale.
It is good to see Holmboe’s music taken-up
by non-Danish musicians. Diane Porteous
plays it and the other works with dedication
and commitment as well as technical
In short, this very
fine release offers a most interesting
and rewarding recital. This selection
of contemporary works ought to be known
and appreciated more widely. All receive
premiere recordings here. Warmly recommended.
see also review
by Patrick Waller