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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: 19 minutes 7 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 2

Allegro  [6'41]
Largo  [7'26]
Allegro commodo  [5'00]

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Like Dvorák before him, Martinu found friends of Czech ancestry among his new American acquaintances. One of the these was Frank Rybka. Rybka had studied music with Janácek in Brno before going to America in 1912. He had taught in Pittsburgh but was at this time living in Jamaica, Long Island. Through his agency the Martinus found a flat there, and the two families became firm friends. American neighbours who found the composer’s habit of wandering the streets at night peculiar were warned not to stop and talk to him; it was at such times that Martinu gave birth to his ideas.

The Sonata for cello and piano No 2 is dedicated to Frank Rybka, and its character is far removed from that of No 1. Milos Safranék, Martinu’s first biographer, pointed out that it already belonged to the composer’s so-called ‘American period’. By this he no doubt meant that at this time Martinu recognized the need to win over his new public with music that posed fewer stylistic problems and did not strike too deeply into their complex personal psyches; not that this sonata is superficial – it poses many technical problems, particularly of rhythm – merely that its three movements occupy a sunnier, more equable landscape than that of No 1. It is quite believable that it held its own in a programme with Brahms’s Sonata in E minor at its premiere on 27 March 1942 when it was played by Lucien Laporte and Elly Bontempo.

from notes by Kenneth Dommett © 1989

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