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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDH55185
Recording details: January 1988
All Saints, Petersham, United Kingdom
Produced by Andrew Keener
Engineered by Tryggvi Tryggvason
Release date: March 1989
Total duration: 16 minutes 55 seconds

'This fascinating record is another tribute to the enterprise of the Hyperion label. It deserves a rich return' (The Sunday Times)

'Steven Isserlis is one of the finest of the current generation of young British cellists, and this recording is a worthy successor to his Hyperion CD recitals of Faure and Brahms' (Music and Musicians)

Sonata for cello and piano No 1

Poco allegro  [5'22]
Lento  [6'01]
Allegro con brio  [5'32]

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Although separated from Czechoslovakia, the tribulations of his homeland affected Martinu profoundly, and its occupation by the Germans in 1939 caused him infinite sadness. He found an outlet for his feelings in the Sonata for cello and piano No 1. Apart from a set of Fairy Tales for piano, dedicated to his pupil the ailing Vitezslava Kaprálová, it is the only composition ascribed to that traumatic year. It is dated 12 May.

The feeling of unrest so eloquently expressed in the Double Concerto, completed at the time of Munich, is again predominant in the first movement of the sonata, which for Martinu is unusually dramatic and declamatory. But whether its mood was dictated wholly by outward events has been questioned. Some feel that a more intimate but undisclosed emotional disturbance may have had a hand in its creation. The unusually passionate slow movement lends some credence to this idea, though the final Allegro con brio tends to rebut such an interpretation. The sonata is dedicated to Pierre Fournier who, with Rudolf Firkusny, gave the first performance in Paris one year later on the very eve of the collapse of the composer’s settled world: ‘The last greeting from a better world’, Martinu recalled many years later.

from notes by Kenneth Dommett © 1989

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