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Bainton, Edgar: Sonata for Cello and Piano

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Never before published, Bainton’s four-movement cello sonata is a substantial work in the tradition of Ireland, Bax and other late-Romantic composers for the instrument. Memorable themes and a colourful piano part convey a powerfully emotional narrative that will be welcomed by performers as a remarkable new addition to their repertoire.

How is it that really good repertoire sometimes slips through the net? Written in 1924, this sonata has had to wait till now to be published. Grateful thanks are due to Michael Jones, the Edgar Bainton (UK) Society and the Trustees of the Bainton Estate who are responsible for at last getting this project off the ground. It has been well worth the wait! This is no wafting English ‘cow dung’ music from between the two world wars, but a well-crafted four-movement composition.

Although there seem tinges of York Bowen in the first movement, Bainton’s voice is well established from the start. Following is a charmingly light, talkative Tchaikovsky-like Allegretto. Remarkably compactly constructed with much thoughtful substance, the slow movement continues attacca into a tarantella-like finale which, though light-hearted, is well written. Anyone who was lucky enough to hear the recent radio programme on musical life in Manchester, the beginnings of the Hallé orchestra and descriptions of the musical personalities of that time will have been enthused by the richness of this period. Bainton’s professional chamber music partner, the Hallé’s principal cellist Carl Fuchs, was also a great friend. It was a relationship that started when they found themselves interned in the camp for British civilians at Ruhleben near Berlin in 1914, and it is no wonder that a composition such as this sonata should have emanated from such circumstances.

Nicola Anderson: arco — Magazine of the European String Teachers Association

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