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Hyperion Records

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Paysage—Colline boisée by Hippolyte Petitjean (1854-1929)
Sotheby’s Picture Library
Track(s) taken from CDH55342
Recording details: April 1999
St George's, Brandon Hill, United Kingdom
Produced by Andrew Keener
Engineered by Arne Akselberg
Release date: October 1999
Total duration: 36 minutes 2 seconds

'A dramatic dialogue of considerable power … an enthusiastic recommendation' (Gramophone)

'These artists radiate total conviction and a life-enhancing vitality and sensitivity' (The Penguin Guide to Compact Discs)

'A worthwhile and enjoyable issue' (Classical Ireland)

Cello Sonata No 2 in F major, Op 123

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
The Cello Sonata No 2 in F major Op 123 is a gem, and a superb opportunity to break away from the repetitive cello repertoire. Romain Rolland described Saint-Saëns as a man ‘tormented by no passions’. Well, here is an opening of a sonata which shows what life could be like at seventy—the age Saint-Saëns was when he composed this work in 1905. Preceded by the lovely and inspired Second Cello Concerto, it was his first chamber music work for six years, since the String Quartet in E minor written for Ysaÿe.

‘Finally it is finished, this damned sonata! Will it please or not? That is the question.’ Thus Saint-Saëns wrote to his publisher, Jacques Durand. He was pleased about including a fugue as one of the variations of the second movement, while ‘the last movement will wake anyone who’s slept through the rest of the piece’. The Romanza is a highlight of all slow movements for cello and piano, and makes the composer’s maxim ‘Surtout, pas d’émotion’ (never too emotional, never making yourself too vulnerable) impossible to heed. ‘The Adagio will bring tears to your eyes’, he wrote to Durand. It leaves you with a feeling that you have been told something important, and is wonderful proof of Saint-Saëns’s emotional range.

from notes by Mats Lidström © 1999

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