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  • British Works For Cello/ Piano Vol.1 (Paul Watkins/ Huw Watkins) (Chandos: CHAN 10741)
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British Works For Cello/ Piano Vol.1 (Paul Watkins/ Huw Watkins) (Chandos: CHAN 10741)


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British Works For Cello/ Piano Vol.1 (Paul Watkins/ Huw Watkins) (Chandos: CHAN 10741) + British Works For Cello & Piano, Volume 2
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Product details

  • Conductor: None
  • Composer: Sir Charles Hubert H. Parry, John Foulds, Frederick Delius, Sir Granville Bantock
  • Audio CD (1 Oct. 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Chandos
  • ASIN: B00925T94C
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 129,067 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Sonata in A major [Sir Charles Hubert H. Parry]2. Sonata, Op. 6 [John Foulds]3. Sonata [Frederick Delius]4. Hamabdil [Sir Granville Bantock] - Paul Watkins/Huw Watkins

Product Description

Product Description

In the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries many British composers produced superb works for cello and piano, but few of these actually made their way into the general repertoire. Here we have four very different works by four very distinct musical personalities, performed by the cellist Paul Watkins, an exclusive Chandos artist, accompanied by his brother, Huw Watkins. The sonata by Frederick Delius is the most widely known of the four pieces. Composed in a single, concise movement, it opens with a tune that sounds at one moment bold, and at the next wistful. The music progresses in the almost endless melodic flow so characteristic of Delius, before dissolving into a dream-like state, and finally, rising to a triumphant, full-hearted climax. By the beginning of the 1900s, Sir Hubert Parry, as Director of the Royal College of Music, and patron of many musical institutions, was probably the most influential figure in British music. His Cello Sonata is a work of high romanticism, tempered by firm structural control and the organic development of themes as befits a composer who had aspired (although unsuccessfully) to study with Brahms. The melodic language could in fact be described as Brahmsian, although Parry does not stringently imitate Brahmss style, and in terms of structure, Parrys strongly lyrical sonata owes little to the work which might have seemed a natural model Brahmss Sonata in E minor. Sir Granville Bantock took much of his inspiration from distant and exotic shores. The term Hamabdil refers to a hymn traditionally sung after the blessings said at the conclusion of the Jewish Sabbath. Bantocks evocative elaboration of this traditional tune is austere and dignified, and originated in an entracte which was part of the incidental music that he had written for Arnold Bennetts play Judith, premiered in London in 1919. Out of the four composers on this disc, only John Foulds was a professional cellist. His sonata is a big and bold work, romantically expressive and emotionally charged, with a complex structure in place, and virtuoso writing for both instruments. In fact, in this true duo-sonata, it is the pianist, not the cellist, who often has the harder task to perform. Product Description.

Review

Paul Watkins follows his outstanding Chandos recording of Elgar's Cello Concerto by partnering his brother Huw in British cello-and-piano works that mostly date from the same era as Elgar's concerto. The exception is Parry's rather Brahmsian sonata, which reached its final form as early as 1883. Delius's slighter, rhapsodic single-movement work was composed in 1915, while the other substantial work here is John Foulds's Op 6 sonata. Why it gets almost as much space in the sleeve notes as the other three works put together is hard to explain, for despite the energy and virtuosity it demands, it seems an unremarkable piece. All the performances, though, are anything but unremarkable Paul Watkins shows himself once again to be peerless in this repertory, while Huw demonstrates that his sparkling playing can be as effective in music of this period as it is so regularly in contemporary repertoire. They lavish great care and good sense on everything here, including Granville Bantock's Hamabdil, a beautiful transcription of a Hebrew hymn that began life as part of Bantock's incidental music for a play by Arnold Bennett.*** --Guardian, 04/10/12

Quite frankly, this is a marvellous release:for the intriguing music, the superb performances and the first class sound. IRR OUTSTANDING --IRR, Oct'12

The Watkins brothers, Paul and Huw, buckle down to their task with notable sympathy and panache. Performance **** Recording **** --BBC Music Magazine, Dec'12

The Watkins brothers explore century-straddling cello works. --Gramophone, Feb'13

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Format: Audio CD
My first thought on finding out that there were three volumes of "British Works for Cello and Piano" (with more to come?) was to wonder if there were enough good stuff to make a program. Well, Volume 1, the only one I've heard so far, is a beauty. It features two short pieces by Delius and Bantock and substantial sonatas by Parry and Foulds. All of it comes from between about 1880 (the Parry) and 1920 (the Bantock), although the Foulds piece, from 1905, was revised in 1927, but wasn't premiered until 1975. To take the shorter pieces first, the Delius, at around 13 minutes is called a sonata, and the dominant impression is of an undulant, rocking theme that undergoes some development but never loses touch with the basic lyrical impulse it starts with. One is tempted to think of it as a kind of proto-minimalist work, but the richness of tone and the gentleness of the accenting don't make it sound as motoric as much later minimalism does. It's quite lovely but not all that engrossing, so it's good that it's no longer than it is. Shorter, but more varied, is Bantock's "Hamabdil" -- identified as a "Hebrew Melody, it comes in at just over 5 1/2 minutes and is airier and less grave than Bruch's "Kol Nidrei," which I had just heard on Alisa Weilerstein's Elgar CD. Nonetheless, it's beautifully done and eloquent in its own way.

Parry's Sonata is a full-scale three-movement work in the late Romantic mode, gratefully written for the cello and with melodic lines that fall very easily on the ear. Like the symphonies and other chamber music of Parry that I've heard, it's an obviously well-crafted piece, and while the program booklet notes Parry's admiration of Brahms, this work is a bit less dense or knotty than Brahms's sonatas.
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By E. Bowen on 24 Sept. 2014
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Wonderful British musicians Paul Watkins and Huw Watkins play a really interesting collection of works by Parry, Delius, Foulds and Bantock. Bantock's 'Hamabdil' (1919) is absolutely beautiful. Great playing. Highly recommended.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 0 reviews
lovely recordings of well-wrought early-20th Century pieces 7 Jan. 2015
By Stanley Crowe - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
My first thought on finding out that there were three volumes of "British Works for Cello and Piano" (with more to come?) was to wonder if there were enough good stuff to make a program. Well, Volume 1, the only one I've heard so far, is a beauty. It features two short pieces by Delius and Bantock and substantial sonatas by Parry and Foulds. All of it comes from between about 1880 (the Parry) and 1920 (the Bantock), although the Foulds piece, from 1905, was revised in 1927, but wasn't premiered until 1975. To take the shorter pieces first, the Delius, at around 13 minutes is called a sonata, and the dominant impression is of an undulant, rocking theme that undergoes some development but never loses touch with the basic lyrical impulse it starts with. One is tempted to think of it as a kind of proto-minimalist work, but the richness of tone and the gentleness of the accenting don't make it sound as motoric as much later minimalism does. It's quite lovely but not all that engrossing, so it's good that it's no longer than it is. Shorter, but more varied, is Bantock's "Hamabdil" -- identified as a "Hebrew Melody, it comes in at just over 5 1/2 minutes and is airier and less grave than Bruch's "Kol Nidrei," which I had just heard on Alisa Weilerstein's Elgar CD. Nonetheless it's beautifully done and eloquent in its own way.

Parry's Sonata is a full-scale three-movement work in the late Romantic mode, gratefully written for the cello and with melodic lines that fall very easily on the ear. Like the symphonies and other chamber music of Parry that I've heard, it's an obviously well-crafted piece, and while the program booklet notes Parry's admiration of Brahms, this work is a bit less dense or knotty than Brahms's sonatas. The developments never stray too far from the attractive melodic thematic material, and to my ears it comes across with a Mendelssohn-like charm rather than with Brahmsian rigor. The slow movement exploits the cello's lyrical possibilities beautifully, and there's plenty of life in the finale, after its opening maestoso.

The Foulds sonata, also in three movements, is perhaps the most arresting piece in this program. Foulds was a cellist himself, and he's interested in exploring more of the instrument's possibilities than the other composers on this disc. This piece is more challenging for both cellist and pianist, but when the going gets hairy, it's invigorating to hear the piano's downward glissandos and to hear too that the cello bears its part in establishing the rhythmic life of the piece in addition to meeting its lyrical responsibilities. It's also the most "modern" sounding piece on the disc, with the slow movement reminding me of an impressionist sound world like Debussy's. But there's also a lot of variety of thematic material within each movement, so the ear is always surprised and delighted. The Watkins brothers are excellent players and are very well recorded, with good balance. Paul Watkins's tone sounds leaner than Weilerstein's, but that might be be because the cello isn't artificially highlighted in the aural picture. All in all, this is a pleasure to listen to.
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