American Works for Cello and Piano

American Works for Cello and Piano

by Paul Watkins


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American Works for Cello and Piano

Between 2012 and 2015, cellist Paul Watkins and pianist Huw Watkins released a four-volume series of British chamber works on Chandos, so their first album of American cello music, featuring pieces by Samuel Barber, Leonard Bernstein, Elliott Carter, George Crumb, and Aaron Copland, marks a change of direction. While their previous releases were dominated by late Romantic music, this album is a salute to 20th century composers, though the selections are rather conservative in approach, with none being avant-garde. Certainly Barber's "Cello Sonata in C minor, Op. 6" is the most conventional in form and style, followed by the Waltz and Celebration from Copland's ballet, "Billy the Kid," which is both tonal and memorably tuneful. The rugged sonatas by Carter and Crumb are more ambiguous and challenging in their materials, yet they are impressive showpieces that also offer drama and pathos, which are readily communicated here. Bernstein's transcription of the "Three Meditations" from "Mass" is the most difficult piece to categorize, because it was adapted from various sections of that eclectic theater piece, and without context, it resembles a loose medley more than a coherently constructed composition. The brothers' performances are all polished and passionate, so even if the program isn't even in mood or quality, the playing is always captivating and satisfying.

Product Details

Release Date: 11/13/2015
Label: Chandos
UPC: 0095115188125
catalogNumber: 10881
Rank: 270306


  1. Billy the Kid, ballet: Celebration. Allegro
  2. Billy the Kid, ballet: Waltz. Molto moderato - Con moto - Più mosso - Tem

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