Catalogue No: TOCC0143EAN/UPC: 5060113441430Release Date: 29.10.2012Composer: Algernon Ashton Artists: Emma Abbate,
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Algernon Ashton, born in Durham in 1859, is one of the best-kept secrets in British music, with a generous output of piano music, chamber works and songs. Rutland Boughton wrote that he 'seems to pour out great musical thought as easily as the lark trills its delight in cloudland': although Ashton's writing for both cello and piano is virtuosic, what strikes the ear is the quality of his melodic inspiration — the lyrical immediacy of his tunes suggests Schubert, set in a style of Brahmsian richness.
Evva Mizerska, cello
Emma Abbate, piano
Sonata No. 1 in F major, Op. 6 (publ. 1880)
Phantasiestücke, Op. 12 (publ. 1883)
Sonata No. 2 in G major, Op. 75 (1885)
Nick Barnard :
“… As one has grown to expect the production of this Toccata Classics disc is first rate. Excellent musical and technical values backed up by a liner of superb interest written by the ever insightful and dependable Malcolm MacDonald. I have not encountered the playing of either cellist Evva Mizerska or pianist Emma Abbate before. They are an established duo and play with great technical address and skill – indeed I cannot imagine a more convincing case being made for this music. … the sound is rich and full with Ashton’s complex writing registering clearly and with maximum impact.” —Nick Barnard, MusicWeb International
Bob McQuiston :
Audiophile Best Find
“…both instruments are beautifully captured. The cello tone is rich and natural across its entire range. The piano is well rounded with no sign of any digital nasties, however the keyboard action is a little noisy in the second sonata [tracks 8 through 10]. Other than that this disc easily qualifies as an audiophile release.” —Bob McQuiston, CLOFO
Seth Blacklock :
This is delightfully warm-hearted music: big-boned, but never feeling heavy or over-complicated.
Ashton’s lyrical gift is undeniable in these works, the cello’s beautiful melodies whispering, then soaring over equally lyrical (and demanding) piano writing at its best.
The composer’s artistic heritage and influences are there, yes, but much more apparent is his individuality. The works never sound particularly Germanic to my ears and there are delicious, almost impressionistic twists of harmony and melody here and there that really shine out.
Mizerska and Abbate give a welcome, enthusiastic and persuasive account of this neglected repertoire. Their partnership is a perfectly complementary one, which gives one real satisfaction in knowing that their future, and that of the neglected repertoire, is bright, both from the viewpoint of a duo and of individual artists.
The recorded sound is excellent: warm and atmospheric; not too close; and the instrumental balance is spot on.
If this is just volume 1, I eagerly await subsequent releases.
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