Mendelssohn, Hensel, Sterndale Bennett - Sonatas for Cello & Piano | Champs Hill Records CHRCD105

Mendelssohn, Hensel, Sterndale Bennett - Sonatas for Cello & Piano


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Label: Champs Hill Records

Cat No: CHRCD105

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 1

Genre: Chamber

Release Date: 30th September 2016



Alice Neary and Benjamin Frith, cellist and pianist in the acclaimed Gould Piano Trio, explore lesser-know works by Mendelssohn’s contemporaries, alongside his masterpieces for cello and piano.

During the first half of the nineteenth century the cello sonata remained a relatively under-developed genre. Before Mendelssohn’s two - and the sonata by Chopin - the only cello sonatas to have gained a secure place in the repertoire are Beethoven’s five examples.

This new recording includes Fanny Mendelssohn’s Fantasia in G minor and Capriccio in A flat major, which Neary describes as ‘small pieces with big intention thanks to her gift for melody and bold and imaginative harmonies’. Both here and in her actual sonatas Fanny was keen to show that her reputation should not depend upon her fluency as a miniaturist and salon composer. She had something more substantial to say and was well equipped technically to express it.

Sterndale Bennet was much admired by Mendelssohn - “I think him the most promising young musician I know” - and his Sonata Duo combines a beauty of melody with charm and vigour. Born in Sheffield in 1816, Bennett was admitted to the Royal Academy of Music at the age of ten. He became the most highly regarded English composer of the early Romantic period, though he is a very neglected figure today.

Alice Neary studied with Ralph Kirshbaum at Royal Northern College of Music and as a Fulbright Scholar. She has a distinguished performing career as chamber musician and soloist and as a member of the Gould Piano Trio, which has remained at the forefront of international chamber music for the past 20 years. Career highlights include the complete piano trios of Beethoven, Schubert and Dvořák at the Wigmore Hall, the commissioning of new works from Sir James MacMillan and Mark Simpson, regular tours of the USA and over 25 CD releases. She plays an Alessandro Gagliano cello of 1710.

Benjamin Frith is a lifetime student of the legendary Dame Fanny Waterman. A winner of the Busoni and Artur Rubinstein International Piano Masters Competitions, he has appeared as a soloist with the Warsaw and Israel Philharmonics, the Hallé, Royal Philharmonic, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and recorded the Tippett Piano Concerto with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra; Moeran’s Rhapsody in F sharp with the BBC Ulster Orchestra; and Charles Villiers Stanford’s Second Piano Concerto with BBC National Orchestra of Wales for Champs Hill Records.

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