ETHEL SMYTH (1858-1944): Cello Sonata in C Minor, REBECCA CLARKE (1886-1979): Rhapsody for Cello and Piano, ELIZABETH MACONCHY (1907-1994): Divertimento for Cello and Piano. ELISABETH LUTYENS (1906-1983): 9 Bagatelles for Cello and Piano, Op. 10.
Catalogue Number: 11V036
Description: Smyth's impressive half-hour, early Sonata (1880) gets a welcome outing here. The piece is a fine, muscular Romantic specimen, reflecting the company she had kept in Leipzig, notably that of Brahms. The first movement is eloquent and tempestuous, in sonata form. This is followed by a "Landler" scherzo, a set of variations with a passionate climax, and a robust rondo-finale. Clarke's 1923 Rhapsody is a powerful work, dark-toned and predominantly sombre in mood. Its 24-minute single span encompasses three distinct, thematically related, movements each of which rises to its own intense climax; a turbulent development section in the first, a passionate outburst in the unsettling ghostly nocturne of the slow movement, and an impassioned peroration that introduces the epilogue to the energetic, folk-dancelike finale. Maconchy undervalued her splendid five-movement suite by calling it 'Divertimento'; diverting and enjoyable it certainly is, but its stature, creative ingenuity and emotional heft belie its relative brevity (13 minutes) and title. It opens with a Latin serenade, rhythmically alert and harmonically unstable; then a passionate Russian-sounding movement, a scherzo "The Clock" which ticks busily, runs down and is rewound; a slow movement of considerable emotional depth, "Vigil"; and a rhythmic, boisterously good-humoured finale. Lutyens' Nine Bagatelles are characteristically spare and economical, though by no means dour or forbidding; No.5 is eloquently melodic, No.7 is a miniature tragic drama in nine bars, the last is wistfully eloquent and flowing. Lionel Handy (cello), Jennifer Hughes (piano).