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Tanya Prochazka cellist


Britten, Ireland, Walton & Elgar

Sonata in C Opus 65, Benjamin Britten
Sonata for Cello and Piano, John Ireland
Passacaglia for solo cello, Sir William Walton
Salut D'Amour;Sospiri, Sir Edward Elgar

Tanya Prochazka, cello with Janet Scott-Hoyt, piano

Arktos 200147 [2001, 57 mins]

Times change! Ireland's sonata is described by Tanya Prochazka (who used to teach at RAM and GSMD in London and is now based in Edmonton, Canada) as the first significant British cello work since the Elgar concerto; it is rarely to be heard nowadays, but comes up strong and well worth an airing.

The Britten sonata (Prochazka writes of its modest dimension and that it is often referred to as a "sonatina") is a firm staple of the cello repertoire, five concentrated movements challenging both players - Britten's cello works with piano and orchestra are amongst my favourites of his instrumental music. Walton's wide ranging solo Passacaglia (1982) should not have fallen into neglect and the two Elgar salon pieces complete a good programme.

All are given fine performances, well balanced by the engineer, and it is good to see Tanya Prochazka's partner described as "a highly sought after collaborative pianist". The cover picture is the famous Suggia portrait of Augustus John, but I prefer you to see the artists!

The New Goldberg Variations

Aria Johann Sebastian Bach
Variations Kenneth Frazelle
Goldberg Variations , Christopher Rouse
Introduction and Three Variations, Peter Lieberson
Fancy on a Bach Air John Corigliano
New Goldberg Variations, Peter Schickel
Fantasy Variation Richard Danielpour
Aria, Johann Sebastian Bach

Tanya Prochazka, cello
Jacques Despres, piano

Arktos 200368
[47 mins]

An occasional piece by six American composers, The New Goldberg Variations has outlived its origins and earned a future concert life.

Commissioned by arts patrons Judy and Robert Goldberg for their silver wedding celebration, this project became a memorial for Robert, who had died after a short illness whilst the project was taking shape. It was premiered by Yo Yo Ma, and was taken into Tanya Prochazka's repertoire a few years later.

Framed by Bach's Aria, played in impeccable style by another justly acclaimed pianist from across the Atlantic, the variations make a satisfying concert sequence.

Both these CDs offer short measure, and might be hard to find, but are recommended to connoisseurs of the cello.

See also Holloway Gilded Goldbergs
Tanya Prochazka with Milton Schlosser in Dvorák, Janácek, Martinu & Grieg

Wallfisch & York have sonatas by Moeran and Rubbra with the Ireland, available from Amazon.

© Peter Grahame Woolf