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The Ysaÿe Connection - CC1009

"The Ysaÿe Connection"

Raphael Wallfisch - cello
John York - piano


Raphael Wallfisch and John York perform sonatas by Eugène Ysaÿe, and two fellow Belgian  composers most associated with him, Cesar Franck and Guillaume Lekeu.

Cesar Franck’s ever popular Sonata in A is given a stirring performance here by the Wallfisch/York duo in their first recording for Cello Classics. Recorded in the peace and tranquillity of Champs Hill, West Sussex this is the first recording Rahael made using the Stradivarius cello that once beolnged to his former teacher, Amaryllis Fleming. By a happy coincidence the wonderful studio in Champ’s Hill has recently aquired the painting of Amaryllis by Augustus John,  which was hung behind the musicians and watched over the entire proceedings!

Less familiar, even to violinists, for whom it was written, is Guillaume Lekeu’s Sonata in G major. The composer lived to be only 24 years old, but in that short time wrote some of the most passionately lyrical music of the age. This is a work that deserves to be far better known.

  • Lekeu - Sonata in G
  • Ysaye - Sonata op.28 and Reve d'Enfant
  • Franck - Sonata in A

"Ysaÿe's sonata for unaccompanied cello, Op. 28, lies at the heart of this fine album, along with his Rêve d'enfant Op. 14, both wonderfully played by Raphael Wallfisch. But the opening Sonata in G by the French composer Guillaume Lekeu, dead in 1894 at the age of only 24, is a real gem worthy of rediscovery by this outstanding cellist, its predominantly pastoral qualities in stark contrast to the jaggedly animated Sonata in A of César Franck which gives both Wallfisch and his pianist, John York, a chance to show their true, gleaming mettle. A must for cellophiles."

Anthony Holden  Observer 15th December 2002