Lionel Sainsbury & John Foulds: Cello Concertos

Lionel Sainsbury & John Foulds: Cello Concertos

Raphael Wallfisch, cello; Royal Scottish National Orchestra | Martin Yates, conductor

Dutton-Epoch CDLX 7284

Date Released: 2012


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Works by Sainsbury Featured on this Album


... thrilling... a work of expressive range and intensity realised in commanding style...

Album Review : Lionel Sainsbury & John Foulds: Cello Concertos
Jeremy Nicholas, Gramophone

Don’t miss the Sainsbury Cello Concerto, which will appear on my ‘Best of 2012 List’. There is a brief whiff of the orient in the theme of the first movement… rhythmic and motivic development alternate with the cello’s cry, and the brass answers fervently. Resolution arrives in the quietly intense adagio, whose beauty and sadness rivals that of Mahler. The folk-like, dramatic, and brilliantly orchestrated allegro changes the mood, but the adagio stays in the memory. Raphael Wallfisch is a passionate soloist and Martin Yates and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra accompany superbly. Anyone who loves the music of Samuel Barber or William Walton will love this wonderful concerto, a real discovery for this music lover. The performances and sound are of the highest order.

Album Review : Lionel Sainsbury & John Foulds: Cello Concertos
Robert Moon, Audiophile Audition

Lionel Sainsbury’s vibrant Concerto of 1999 is heart-on-sleeve music, painted in bold colours, and could hardly find more enthusiastic interpreters than Wallfisch and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. The soloist’s role here is one of an extrovert leader, and Wallfisch, brings vitality and a range of emotion to the part, his beautifully focused sound taking on an urgency in its high reaches in the first movement and soaring eloquently in the intense slow movement.

Album Review : Lionel Sainsbury & John Foulds: Cello Concertos
Janet Banks, The Strad

The Sainsbury Cello Concerto is no prey to the fashions of the late 20th century and may seem old-fashioned to many. However, it displays a mastery of style and technique that is wholly admirable. But more than this, it shows a composer with the vision and individuality to be different and not to follow the fleeting fashions and fads of present-day compositional concerns. Written in a style that owes a lot to Walton and Sibelius and to some extent French composers like Dutilleux, the piece achieves a homogenous expressiveness. The result is a passionate and often intense concerto which has no shortage of expressive contrasts or dynamic tuttis, with some wonderful solo cello cantilena passages. I felt that its occasional restrained languour, especially in the slow second movement, had something of the Mediterranean about it. By contrast the third movement is in effervescent ‘Irish’ jig style, heavily syncopated, with contrasting pastoral allusions. The performance is excellent and powerfully committed. Special thanks must go the superb soloist Raphael Wallfisch and to the conductor Martin Yates.

Album Review : Lionel Sainsbury & John Foulds: Cello Concertos
Raymond Head, Tempo Magazine

If you enjoy the Romantic cello, you owe it to yourself to buy this disc. Raphael Wallfisch is wonderfully persuasive. His burnished, patrician tone (beautifully caught by Dutton's Dexter Newman) is a delight throughout. Martin Yates is a fine collaborator, allowing his soloist plenty of room to relax and deploy all his art. Sainsbury's idiomatic writing for the instrument, expressive lyricism, and homophonic richness are allowed full sway... it's impossible to get this music out of your head.

Album Review : Lionel Sainsbury & John Foulds: Cello Concertos
Barry Brenesal, Fanfare

Last year I briefly but very enthusiastically reviewed the Dutton Epoch release of Lionel Sainsbury’s Violin Concerto. The review actually brought me into contact with the composer, and we were able to meet in London and attend a concert together. At that time, he told me that Dutton would be bringing out a recording of his Cello Concerto, with cellist Rafael Wallfisch and the RSNO under Martin Yates. I have been very anxious to hear it and wondered if it would meet the high standards of the violin work. The verdict is in: it does. This is another open-hearted, totally accessible, and immensely appealing composition. Few composers anchor what they do so completely in gorgeous melody. Sainsbury sets up an exclamatory, endearing theme and then discourses upon it in a way that does not tire. The results, animated by an energetic rhythmic pulse, are exhilarating. There is something unabashed about this music in its emotional directness - a kind of joyful innocence, a generosity of spirit. The final allegro dances off in a spirited jig. Wallfisch digs in, partnered by the Royal Scottish forces. It is no small attraction that the Sainsbury work is paired with the John Foulds Cello Concerto (CDLX 7284). If you wish to dispel gloom, to be stirred in your heart, to move to music even if you are sitting in your chair – try the Sainsbury concertos.

Album Review : Lionel Sainsbury & John Foulds: Cello Concertos
Robert R. Reilly, Catholic News Agency