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Hyperion Records

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Le Palais da Mula (1908) by Claude Monet (1840-1926)
Private Collection / Photo © Christie's Images / Bridgeman Art Library, London
Track(s) taken from CDA67948
Recording details: December 2011
Concert Hall, Wyastone Estate, Monmouth, United Kingdom
Produced by John Fraser
Engineered by Ben Connellan
Release date: October 2012
Total duration: 18 minutes 52 seconds

'This blissfully unhackneyed and brilliantly executed recital … the performance's sheer panache is as persuasive as the tonal refinement preceding it, and the recording throughout gives the players all the space and atmosphere they need to characterise the varied moods and textures of an unusually rewarding programme' (Gramophone)

'Something very special. Their choice of repertory here—devised as an extended upbeat to Adès's Lieux retrouvés at the end of the programme—is unusual, memorable, and wonderfully performed from start to finish' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Lieux retrouvés is some of the most enjoyable and readily accessible contemporary music you're likely to encounter … this music, like everything else on this recording, is brilliantly played by Isserlis and Adès. Unreservedly recommended' (International Record Review)

'Isserlis's brilliant recital disc with Adès makes an admirably integrated whole. The Proustianly titled Lieux retrouvés, which Adès wrote for the cellist and himself, is, in effect, a four-movement sonata whose figuration and part-writing knock at the door of the complex to seek the visionary. Isserlis is furiously lyrical and concentrated here, but no less so in the other works, which offer aptly Romantic-modern context for Adès's inspiration. Fauré's beautiful Second Sonata is dispatched not merely with superb elan, but with almost desperate intensity from both players' (The Sunday Times)

'Isserlis plays with almost tangible intensity and soul, while Adès finds charm and natural expression at every turn—a true musical dialogue' (Financial Times)

'There is an engaging emotional path running through, from the nostalgic resignation of late Liszt—three stark but lyrical transcriptions—to Adès' stirring title piece … the two men secure what Adès describes as the inner illumination and rapture of Fauré's 1921 Second Sonata, investing its Finale with the sinew and thrust of a younger Ravel' (The New Zealand Herald)

Cello Sonata No 2 in G minor, Op 117
composer
March to November 1921; first performed in 13 May 1922

Allegro  [6'25]
Andante  [7'28]
Allegro vivo  [4'59]

Other recordings available for download
Steven Isserlis (cello), Pascal Devoyon (piano)
Alban Gerhardt (cello), Cecile Licad (piano)
Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Fauré wrote his Second Cello Sonata between March and November 1921. As in the First Sonata, he obeys the rules to the extent of using two contrasting themes: the first a scalic idea that turns back on itself, the second based on a descending third. But instead of presenting these some way apart, as first and second subjects, they are contrasted from the beginning and, again, Fauré uses canon (albeit freely) as a means of increasing the tension. In the general flux, the arrival of the recapitulation is so subtly managed as to be almost unnoticed.

Like the Sicilienne, the Andante was taken from another project, and was in fact the nucleus from which the sonata grew. At the beginning of 1921, Fauré received a state commission to write a work for the ceremony to be held on 5 May at Les Invalides to mark the 100th anniversary of the death of Napoleon—not, one might have thought, much in his line, and he admitted to his wife that he found ‘the subject and the occasion thoroughly intimidating’. But he complied. And then the resulting Chant funéraire, duly orchestrated for the Garde républicaine by its conductor, obviously remained in its composer’s head. Would it never be heard again? He determined that it would. In the measured repeated chords of the accompaniment and the long majestic cello lines it looks back to the successful Élégie, now coloured with more enigmatic harmonies.

In the finale the two contrasting themes are separated in traditional fashion, the first a syncopated, almost jazzy tune, the second a tongue-in-cheek chorale. As in the First Sonata, the piano, playing in every bar of every movement, is the leader of things harmonic, while the cello rides imperiously over all its excentricities. In the variety and quality of his invention, the aged Fauré was every bit the equal of Verdi—or Elliott Carter. The day after the Sonata’s premiere on 13 May 1922, Vincent d’Indy wrote to his old friend: ‘I want to tell you that I’m still under the spell of your beautiful Cello Sonata … The Andante is a masterpiece of sensitivity and expression and I love the finale, so perky and delightful … How lucky you are to stay young like that!’

from notes by Roger Nichols © 2012


Other albums featuring this work
'Fauré: Cello Sonata No 2 & other works' (CDA66235)
Fauré: Cello Sonata No 2 & other works
'Fauré: Cello Sonatas' (CDA67872)
Fauré: Cello Sonatas

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