20th Cen­tury Bri­tish Works for Solo Cello

BBC Music Magazine - - Instrument­al Reviews -

J Dil­lon: Eos; Drake­ford: Cello

Suite No. 2; D Matthews: Songs and Dances of Mourn­ing; John Mayer: San­nyasin; H Pare­des: Zuhuy Kak Ro­han de Saram (cel­llo)

First Hand FHR045 70:03 mins

Ro­han de

Saram, former cel­list of the Arditti Quar­tet and a tire­less ad­ven­turer in new mu­sic, marks his 80th birth­day with a very per­sonal col­lec­tion, al­most a mu­si­cal ‘This is Your Life’. Each of the works was writ­ten for him by com­poser friends and col­leagues over his six-decade-long ca­reer. His is a dis­tinc­tive legacy, with sev­eral works ref­er­enc­ing his Sri Lankan her­itage as well as ex­ploit­ing his fear­less tech­nique.

The Cal­cutta-born John Mayer’s San­nyasin was in­spired by the

Hindu rit­ual of re­nounc­ing the world, ap­pro­pri­ate for this artist who has ded­i­cated his life to the road less trav­elled. It’s per­haps the most con­ven­tion­ally rhetor­i­cal of all the works, in­flected with Mayer’s indo-jazz fu­sion style. Hilda Pare­des’s pun­gent, tightly-fo­cused es­say Zuhuy Kak in­cor­po­rates Khandyan drum­ming pat­terns from the ‘Ele­phant Van­nam’, a Sri Lankan en­ter­tain­ment. De Saram, a long­time ex­po­nent of the Khandyan drum, de­lights in its ex­pres­sively dragged pizzi­cato and ghostly can­tile­nas, though the martial rhythms could be more elas­tic.

This piece vies with James Dil­lon’s Eos as my favourite dis­cov­ery here: Dil­lon sus­tains a taut, ex­pres­sive tra­jec­tory, whose mus­cu­lar­ity and poise is beau­ti­fully re­alised by de Saram.

Per­haps not sur­pris­ingly David Matthew’s Songs and Dances of Mourn­ing (1976/98) evokes Brit­ten’s cello suites, writ­ten as they were in the year of his death: a poignant lament, scur­ry­ing presto a cha­conne, and even a fi­nal flow­er­ing of mo­tifs. It’s well done. These record­ings were made in 2015 and are per­haps not as ef­fort­less as they might have been in ear­lier years. Nev­er­the­less, de

Saram’s po­tent mu­si­cal per­son­al­ity shines through. He­len Wallace PER­FOR­MANCE ★★★★ RECORD­ING ★★★★

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.