RICHARD RODNEY BENNETT (1936-2012): Cello Sonata, JAMES MACMILLAN (b.1959): Cello Sonata No. 2, JOE CUTLER (b.1968): 2016 was a Sad Year for Pop Music, KENNETH LEIGHTON (1929-1988): Elegy, Op. 5, BENJAMIN BRITTEN (1913-1976): Cello Sonata in C, Op. 65, E.J. MOERAN (1894-1950): Prelude, FRANK BRIDGE (1879-1941): Élégie.
Catalogue Number: 11T051
Reference: CD 0175
Description: This well thought out recital contains some rarities of real quality. MacMillan's sonata of 2000 is a vehemently expressive work in a quasi-palindromic form that begins and ends in high drama and progresses through mournful, mysterious music in its central section. Even though it has no declared programmatic content, it sound as though it conceals some narrative of social injustice - think of Isabel Gowdie - with its violent opening, keening, songlike cello lines and a 'galloping' climax before it reverses course. Bennett's substantial four-movement sonata is structured somewhat conventionally, but its content reveals the composer's wide-ranging æsthetic, from the energetic jazzy groove of the scherzo, via the ballad-like melodies and English Romanticism to the spiky cosmopolitan modernism (always tonal, though) and taut cyclic structure of the composer who traversed many musical boundaries. Cutler's little elegy memorialises Bowie, Prince and Leonard Cohen by borrowing harmonic progressions and melodic inflections from their songs, though you'd have to be pretty well versed in their output to spot it immediately. Otherwise the work fits perfectly with the early, Romantic Elegies by Moeran, Bridge, and Leighton (the latter unaccountably not standard repertoire). Alexander Baillie (cello), John Thwaites (piano).