The Strad's experts evaluate the latest string recordings
Britten: Suites for solo cello; Tema ‘Sacher’
Strongly characterised accounts from a meticulous player
Sunday, 03 November 2013
Jamie Walton (cello)
With this recording of the Suites for solo cello, British cellist Jamie Walton has now committed all of Britten’s cello works to disc. They are excellent interpretations with an exceptional sense of flow, and the rich hues of Walton’s 1712 Guarneri colour and give depth to the frequent resonant chords and double-stops. No physical limitations get in the way of the free flow of the music, yet Walton is meticulous in his observance of all the subtleties of dynamics. Every note comes across cleanly in this finely tuned recording made at Snape Maltings. It’s hard to believe that it is possible to play the ‘Moto perpetuo’ of the First Suite as fast and accurately as this – and yet Walton does.
In the same suite, Walton’s fluid bowing keeps the ‘Cantos’ from getting too ponderous. The repeated top Es in the ‘Lamento’ are searing in their intensity, and the ensuing passage rings out beautifully with just the right level of resonance. This clear, pure tone in high tessituras stands out again in the Second Suite’s ‘Ciaconna’. In Suite no.3 Walton is careful not to overplay the micro-movements, tossing off the semiquavers in the ‘Marcia’ and sketching in the chords of the ‘Barcarola’ as if in pencil. An almost overwhelming feeling of sadness weighs down the final ‘Kontakion’.
From the November 2013 issue. Subscribe to The Strad or download our digital edition as part of a 30-day free trial.