SOMM RECORDINGS’ Belle Époque 1886 celebrates a golden age of French chamber music, uniquely coupling Cello Sonatas by César Franck and Benjamin Godard. Franck’s A major and Godard’s D minor Sonatas were both composed in 1886 when French composers were replacing Austro- German dominance with a native, vernacular style.
Making their debuts on SOMM are cellist Corinne Morris and pianist Petr Limonov.
Of Anglo-French heritage, Morris continues to reveal herself a formidable musician. She made a triumphant comeback after a shoulder injury forced her to withdraw from the concert platform for more than five years. She has been hailed by Mstislav Rostropovich as “‘Corinotchka’, my colleague” while Paul Tortelier wrote “My warmest wishes are for Corinne and her art”.
With a burgeoning profile at the keyboard and conductor’s podium, Russian-British pianist Petr Limonov has been described as “an extremely multi-faceted, phenomenal musician who has an endless array of abilities” (Classical Music magazine).
Franck’s Cello Sonata – an arrangement by cellist Jules Delsart of his Violin Sonata, originally composed for violinist Eugène Ysaÿe’s wedding and the only alternative version sanctioned by the composer – is notable for the lyrical, singing quality of its cello writing while boasting complex harmonies and sophisticated thematic devices throughout.
A prolific composer, versatile musician and close associate of Franck’s, Godard’s Cello Sonata, says Gavin Dixon in his booklet notes, “demonstrates an innate knowledge of the instrument, especially of the varied expressive potential of its different ranges”. It is shot through with vivid colouring of the cello’s voice in shifting registers and Godard’s penchant for the operatic.
SOMM’s previous Franck recordings include the Symphonic Variations (pianist Valerie Tryon, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Kenneth Woods) – “imaginative and intelligent…performed with style, panache and polish” (MusicWeb International Recording of the Month; SOMMCD 250) and the Violin Sonata by the Carlock-Combet Duo (SOMMCD 0169), hailed by BBC Music Magazine for “loving and attentive performances”.
On This Recording
Franck: Sonata for Cello and Piano in A major
- I. Allegretto ben moderato
- II. Allegro
- III. Recitativo-Fantasia – Ben moderato
- IV. Allegretto poco mosso
- I. Moderato
- II. Adagio non troppo
- III. Vivace ma non troppo
Godard: Sonata for Cello and Piano in D minor, Op.104