Ernő DOHNÁNYI (1877-1960)
Cello Sonata in B flat Op.8 (1899) [25:59] Ludwig THUILLE (1861-1907)
Cello Sonata Op.22 (1902) [27:46] Donald Francis TOVEY (1875-1940)
Sonata for two cellos in G major (1912) [20:38]
Lydia Artymiw (piano)
Frances Rowell (cello) – Tovey
rec. Le Frak Concert Hall, Aaron Copland School of Music,
Queen’s College, Flushing NY, January and April 2007 BRIDGE
performances of the Dohnányi sonata have emerged almost
simultaneously – this and the competing Naxos performed
by cellist Mark Kosower and Jee-Won Oh [8.570570]. It’s
a strong, powerful if early work that’s never been entirely
neglected by record companies. Indeed Naxos itself now
has two such recordings on its books, the earlier being
by Maria Kliegel and Jenő Jandó [Naxos 8.554468].
Marcy Rosen and Lydia
Artymiw are the Bridge protagonists. They take similar
tempi to those set by the Kosower-Oh team but the performances
are strongly divergent in interpretative stance. Briefly
the Bridge duo is less extrovert, and tends to cut a more
noble profile, not least in the delightful Scherzo. Here
they’re faster than their rivals, more adamantine – especially
Artymiw – and tend to play the B section in a more buttoned
up way. Kosower phrases with great sensitivity and refinement
and I prefer his and Oh’s way. Tone colours and rhythmic
attention to detail is also superior in the Naxos performance
with a less austere slow movement and a more vivid finale.
Thuille’s sonata is less often recorded than the Dohnányi
and to be relished for that reason alone. It’s a well-argued
work, somewhat influenced by Rheinberger, a soupçon of Brahms, and some obvious
Wagnerian harmonies. Flowing and lyrical describes the
first of the three movements. The second is a touch reserved
and mordant with some Tristanesque harmonies in the piano
part. The finale bustles powerfully though without particular
distinction. It’s cleanly and purposefully played though
I can imagine performances that wring more out of it.
duo sonata arose from the ménage in which he was embroiled
in a 1912 holiday – the incendiary trio of himself, his
great admirer Casals and the Catalan’s lover, Suggia. Horszowski
and Granados were also there. I’ve not had the opportunity
yet to read the new biography of the Portuguese firebrand
so I don’t know if this episode is gone into in greater
depth there, since Mary Grierson, Tovey’s biographer, doesn’t.
But it’s strongly implied in the notes to this disc that
Tovey and Suggia enjoyed a brief affair, swiftly terminated
and followed by their expulsion from the Edenic summer
home at Playa San Salvador near Barcelona. The sonata was
written for both cellists to play. It opens with succulent,
almost ecstatic entwining, before moving off to more Brahmsian
waters. The central movement is a series of variations
on a Catalan folksong – full of echo effects and really
very lovely. And the finale in energetically Bachian, as
befits Casals, with playful opportunities for each player
ostentatiously to outdo the other in different registers.
enjoyable disc - well played though perhaps somewhat under-projected.
The recording is reasonable.
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