Brahms: Cello Sonatas / Wallfisch, York
York, John; Wallfisch, Raphael
This release is part of a two album project to include the clarinet sonatas and the first violin sonata, all played by Raphael Wallfisch and John York. The single Sonatensatz (Scherzo) was not published till after Brahms’ death. The piece is originally for violin and piano and formed the third movement of a full-length four movement sonata by three different composers, Schumann, Dietrich his student, and the youthful Brahms. This is the only movement still regularly performed. It certainly makes a strong, effective recital piece. More than twenty years separate the two cello sonatas. While the first, in E minor is generally rather somber, often very low-lying on the cello and serious in its Bachian working-out, the second, in F major is full of turbulent, confident, even heroic qualities. It presents both players at full throttle, strutting proudly through one noble melody after another, and then – in the radically remote and radiant key of F sharp major – has one of Brahms’ most glorious slow movements and a dark scherzo which paraphrases the opening theme from his 3rd symphony’s finale. These two sonatas for cello and piano have achieved a legendary position – wonderful and powerful expressions of 19th century romanticism.