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C.P.E. Bach - Cello Concertos
No. 1 in A minor, Wq 170; No. 2 in B flat major, Wq 171; No. 3 in A major, Wq 172

Raphael Wallfisch (cello) Scottish Ensemble, Jonathan Morton (artistic director)

Nimbus - NI5848

Raphael Wallfisch (who went to nursery school with my son !) is a vastly prolific international recording virtuoso - his discography is mind-boggling !

He is often to be heard in London, in duo with John York, and with other groups.

These are rather formulaic baroque concertos, the most affecting movement the largo of the A major. Well played and decently recorded, but not an essential disc for non-specialists.

Photo: Benjamin Ealovega

Chopin Cello Sonatas
Raphael Wallfisch & John York

Nimbus NI 5862

Well, there's only one, and this disc (recorded at Wyastone Jan 2010) betrays signs of hasty production (why the orchids?). It is played well by this long established duo who have recorded a wide repertoire together.

Included are the 1932 Sonata of Simon Laks, whose promising career was blighted by internment in 1941, later Auschwitz and Dachau, before being liberated by the American forces 1945. It is a strongly crafted work, with an 'almost minimalist' witty finale, by a composer whose promise was not fulfilled.

Szymanowski's exuberant early violin sonata is given in a cello arrangement refurbished by these artists. Powerful late romantic music, completing an interesting programme. Track 5 is a Chopin Etude appended "like an encore"; it is best played as an actual encore at the end of the recital.

I found the sound strange, but it was fine heard on a different CD player! A reminder of how listening is affected by reproducing set ups as by seating position when reviewing live concerts...

Peter Grahame Woolf