One of the most grown-up review sites around

2019
52,000 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here

     
  
 

 

International mailing


  Founder: Len Mullenger             Editor in Chief: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider


Yes we are selling
Acte Prealable again!
£11 post-free


we also sell Skarbo

and Oboe Classics


TROUBADISC

with Eggebrecht we get all the excitement we can handle

Book 1 Book 2 Book3
Mota The Triptych: -Website

Asmik Grigorian

Breathtaking Performance
controversial staging
Review Westbrook
Review Hedley
Every lover of Salome should see this recording
Mullenger interpretation


absolutely thrilling


immediacy and spontaneity


Schumann Lieder


24 Preludes
one of the finest piano discs


‘Box of Delights.’


J S Bach A New Angle
Organ fans form an orderly queue


GERNSHEIM Quartets
a most welcome issue


I enjoyed it tremendously


the finest traditions of the house


music for theorbo
old and new

John Luther Adams
Become Desert
concealing a terrifying message


ground-breaking, winning release


Charpentier
screams quality


Surprise of the month


English Coronation, 1902-1953
magnificent achievement

REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers

Support us financially by purchasing this from

Ivor KEYS (1919-1995)
Cello Sonata (1960) [21:30]
Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957)
Malinconia, Op.20 (1900) [12:18]
Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897)
Violin Sonata No. 1 in G major, Op. 78 (1878-79) (transcribed for cello by Julius Klengel (publ. 1897)) [29:58]
Rohan de Saram (cello)
Benjamin Frith (piano)
rec. April 2014, Tonbridge, School, Kent, UK
FIRST HAND RECORDS FHR34 [63:52]

The three works selected for this disc ensure its uniqueness. Ivor Keys, better known as an academic than composer, leads with his 1960 Cello Sonata. Sibelius follows with his distinctively sombre Malinconia and the final piece belongs to Brahms - but with a Klengelian twist.

Keys was a pianist and organist. He played the Rachmaninov Second Concerto whilst still at school and became the youngest Fellow of the Royal College of Organists. He took a series of distinguished academic appointments - Queen’s University, Belfast followed by Nottingham and then Birmingham universities, where he succeeded Anthony Lewis but he managed to produce a number of works throughout that time.

The Cello Sonata was written when he was at Nottingham and was dedicated to Maurice Eisenberg, cellist of the Menuhin Trio of the day. There’s a degree of taut asperity in the opening movement that gradually resolves into an appealing lyricism, the tension between nervous intensity and expressive rumination being finely judged. Keys is certainly not afraid of directness, the opening piano statements of the central movement being unambiguously warm and whilst there is a degree of sombre introspection here, he contrasts registers very wittily – the low humming cello set against the piano’s treble, for example. The finale dispels any accumulated care, like a kind of updated Grieg; here Keys gives full rein to his propensity for contrast – tempo changes, rich effects, running pizzicati, the two instruments scurrying after each other. This sonata certainly has plenty of character. At his debut recital at the Wigmore Hall in London in 1958 de Saram was accompanied by Keys and also – in his own cello sonata – by Edmund Rubbra. The cellist’s identification with and mastery of Keys’ sonata makes for compelling listening.

Sibelius’ Malinconia is a markedly more monothematic affair, majoring in intensity. Rohan de Saram brings real dignity of expression to its paragraphs, imbuing the cantilena with a firm but benevolent sensitivity. In his own centre-stage moments, Benjamin Frith fully exploits the piano’s flowing figuration.

There have been other arrangements over the years of Brahms’ G major Violin Sonata, but this is the earliest. The work was undertaken by Paul Klengel, one of the most famous cellists of his time, and one who lived long enough to record on 78s. The cello version is inevitably a touch slower, in temporal terms, than the more quick-speaking violin, but Klengel’s idiomatic arrangement provides cellists with a viable addition to the repertoire. There’s something especially meditative and warmly voiced about employing a cello, and these are the qualities that Rohan de Saram and Benjamin Frith find in the work.

The recording quality is bright and cool in Tonbridge School, but attractively so, and the booklet notes have been finely presented.

Jonathan Woolf



 

 



We are currently offering in excess of 52,000 reviews


Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and keep us afloat

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical


Nimbus Podcast


Obtain 10% discount



Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels

Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Postmaster
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger