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Kodály, Ysaÿe, Cassadó & Mayuzumi - works for solo cello

Eugène Ysaÿe SONATE en Ut mineur Op. 28
Zoltán Kodály Sonate für Violoncello Solo op. 8
Gaspar Cassadó Suite per Violoncello solo
Toshiro Mayuzumi BUNRAKU for Violoncello Solo

Francis Gouton, cello

HERA02124 (including bonus DVD)
Edition HERA
Audio: 67 mins
Videos:Bunraku/Cassado/Interview with Susanne Benda: 44 mins

Not a career soloist, Francis Gouton's name is problably unfamiliar to you. Championed by his colleague Ralph Kullig, this is a dedicated production which places Gouton firmly right at the top of recorded cellists, with the great Kodaly sonata at its centre, a key work for bringing the cello into the 20th C.

In a relaxed and leisurely talk with the chief music correspondent of Stuttgart News in the foyer of the Opera House (with a rehearsal in the background) Gouton stresses the musical (and social) satisfactions of belonging to the opera orchestra, which he would never want to forsake for the lonely life of an international career soloist.

The dark Ysaye sonata, composed around the time of his wife's death and emphasising the cello's low tones, is contemporary with his better known violin sonatas. Cassados's Suite is very much in the shadow of Kodaly's sonata, which it disceetly quotes, and Mayuzumi's piece relates to traditional Japanese music.

The videos excerpts from the CD recordings are invaluable for rounding out one's feelings about this great cellist. The filming, includes ghosting reversal images which one of us saw "acting as an inspired metaphor for the internalised musical dialogue taking shape through and by the musician".

This production is of equal importance to Hera's championship of violist Vidor Nagy.

Peter & Alexa Woolf

See Francis Gouton play Mayuzumi's BUNRAKU on You-Tube.