GRAHAM WHETTAM (1927-2007): Concerto Drammatico for Cello and Orchestra (Sinfonia da Camera; Ian Hobson), Ballade Hébraïque for Cello and Orchestra (Woolaston Festval Orchestra; Graham Whettam), Romanzas No. 1 and 2 for Solo Cello, Sonata for Solo Cello.
Catalogue Number: 05S054
Label: Paladino Music
Reference: pmr 0041
Description: Whettam was a fine and prolific symphonist with a substantial output of concertante works and orchestral and chamber music. His adherence to a tonal vocabulary made him unfashionable in the latter decades of his life, and his music went into almost complete eclipse until very recently, with scarcely any broadcasts or recordings in the last three decades. His energetic and passionate style was unmistakable and individual, and his music is long overdue for a comprehensive revival. The aptly named Concerto drammatico was his last concerto, written in the same year as his final completed symphony. The first movement is wide-ranging emotionally, full of passion, with significant Shostakovich influence in several disruptive martial episodes. The middle movement is a frenetic dance-scherzo with a contrasting B section. The movement concludes with the work's cadenza, and then the finale, entitled Scena ultima, has a strong sense of elegiac farewell overall, though it rises to several powerful climaxes along the way. The influence of Mahler is very clear - there are several near-quotations - and it is tempting to hear this movement as a Mahlerian farewell. The sonata is a substantial, eloquent work full of smoldering fire and extrovert ardour. He produced several versions of the solemn, sweeping Ballade, with its long, aching melodies and sense of epic tragedy and stormy unquiet, for different forces, of which this inventively orchestrated concertante incarnation is the most impressive. Martin Rummel (cello).