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Works for cello and piano by Moeran, Jacob, Cooke, and Pantcheff
Joseph Spooner (cello) Duncan Honeybourne (piano)

Region

Ernest John MOERAN (1894–1950)

[1] Prelude (1943, publ. 1944) [04:52]
[2–4] Sonata (1947, publ. 1948) Tempo moderato [08:35]; Adagio [05:50]; Allegro [07:38]

Gordon JACOB (1895–1984)

[5–8] Sonata (publ. 1957) premiere recording Allegro [06:03]; Allegro vivace [03:34]; Adagio [06:28]; Allegro molto [04:03]

Greville COOKE (1894–1989)

[9–11] Sonata (1966–67) premiere recording Allegro vigoroso [04:34]; Largo, con molto espressione [07:01]; Allegro risoluto [03:13]

Richard PANTCHEFF

[12–14] Sonata (1983–84) premiere recording Lento – Ritmico [07:07]; Duets [03:55]; Molto allegro – Adagio [04:57]

Ernest John MOERAN

[15] Irish Lament (1943, publ. 1952) [04:16]

Total Time [82:14]

CD cover with abstract image incorporating a cello

About this album

There has been a flurry of recording activity in recent years around British works for cello and piano, with the repertoire finally receiving the attention it deserves from artists, critics, and record labels alike. New light has been cast on familiar pieces and neglected treasures have been heard for the first time. Yet despite these endeavours, much remains to be done to bring the full range of this music to audiences. Long-time colleagues Joseph Spooner and Duncan Honeybourne, two of Britain’s foremost exponents of this repertoire, have now collaborated to bring together the known, the neglected and the new in a generous selection of works.

The known composers here are E. J. Moeran and Gordon Jacob. Moeran’s works for cello and piano of the late 1940s (the Prelude, the Irish Lament, and the monumental Sonata) have all been recorded previously, though surprisingly they have never been presented together. The performers here bring their long-standing affection for Moeran and experience of his music to bear on fresh interpretations of these emotional yet glorious works.

It is quite astounding that a work as substantial as Gordon Jacob’s Sonata of 1957 has never previously been recorded, and the performers are delighted to present it here in its full, craggy, and melancholy splendour. Greville Cooke’s neglected Sonata, dating to 1966–67 but written in a rather earlier idiom, has only recently come to light after several decades in hiding. It is a touching, lyrical piece that refuses to conform to traditional notions of evolution in music.

The newest music on the disc is the 1983–84 Sonata by Richard Pantcheff, a work of power and dark drama.

Credits

Joseph Spooner - cello
Duncan Honeybourne - piano
Recorded at Holy Trinity Church, Hereford, 10th and 11th April 2022 (Tracks 1—4 and 12—14) and St. Elizabeth’s Church, Ashley, 29th and 30th March 2023 (Tracks 5—11 and 15)
Engineer/Producer: Steve Plews
Edited and mastered by: Phil Hardman
Oil Painting “Miserere” by Steve Plews
Cover and Booklet Design: Simon Crosby Buttle

Joseph Spooner

Joseph Spooner sitting with cello
Joseph Spooner’s diverse career has taken him across the UK, from the Baltic to the Atlantic, and from the recording studio to concert platforms in Continental Europe, Russia, New York, Mexico, and New Zealand. Notable chamber music collaborators have included David Owen Norris, Madeleine Mitchell, and Duncan Honeybourne. Joseph’s delving into the repertoire has led to the recovery of unjustly neglected works that have earned high praise from critics for both the performances and the initiative such projects entail: ‘Other cellists, please copy!’ (International Record Review); ‘all the expressive power needed’ (Gramophone); ‘superb … arresting in his commitment, his technical facility and in the rich tone he produces from his cello ... could not be better’ (International Record Review); ‘wonderfully persuasive … full of remarkable passion and conviction’ (The Strad); ‘immensely impressive’ (Musical Opinion); ‘penetrates to the heart of the music’ (Musicweb). Recent years have seen Joseph’s discography expand further, and notable recordings include Percy Sherwood’s Double Concerto (with the BBC Concert Orchestra and Rupert Marshall-Luck), Francis Pott’s highly acclaimed At First Light for choir and solo cello, and Ruth Gipps’s Cello Sonata (with Duncan Honeybourne). Joseph was elected an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music in 2012 and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries in 2022. He is proud to be the dedicatee of works by Alwynne Pritchard, Errollyn Wallen, and Martin Read. His instrument was made in the workshop of Nicholas Vuillaume in c.1865.

Duncan Honeybourne

Duncan Honeybourne sitting at a piano
Duncan Honeybourne enjoys a diverse profile as pianist and in music education. Following his concerto debuts at Symphony Hall, Birmingham, and the National Concert Hall, Dublin, he made recital debuts in London, Paris and at international festivals in Belgium and Switzerland. Commended for his “gripping performances” (The Times), “glittering performances” (International Piano) and “great technical facility and unfailing imagination” (Musical Opinion), Duncan has toured extensively as soloist and chamber musician throughout the UK, Ireland and Europe, broadcasting frequently on BBC Radio 3 and radio networks worldwide. His many recordings reflect his long association with 20th and 21st century British piano music, and his debut recording as a harpsichordist was released in 2023. Duncan Honeybourne teaches piano and chamber music at the Royal Academy of Music Junior Academy and is a Lecturer in Piano at the University of Southampton.