Enthralling Schubert sonata

This music-making from Wieder-Atherton, Cooper and Oleg is about as compelling as it can get, with music from Schubert to Ravel

Composer: Schubert, Liszt, Rachmaninov, Kodály, Ravel, Aperghis
Repertoire: En Sonate
Artists: Sonia Wieder-Atherton (cello), Imogen Cooper (piano), Raphaël Oleg (violin)
Rating: 5/5
Genre: Instrumental
Label: RCA 8276 552732

The first CD puts down an opening marker with the anti-virtuosic ruminations of Schubert’s Litanei and Liszt’s La lugubre gondola – the latter a wonderful piece, played with sad and searching intensity. Wieder-Atherton then brings to Schubert’s ‘Arpeggione’ Sonata an appealing elegance, totally free from the hectoring quality into which the the music’s high register so often forces lesser performers. The sombre warmth of Rachmaninov’s Sonata, too, is never exaggerated into histrionics; and the musicianship of Imogen Cooper’s accompanying is an understated force in its own right.

On disc two, Wieder-Atherton collaborates with Raphaël Oleg. Glière’s 8 Duos and Ravel’s Sonata deal in a currency of sophisticated musical refinement, to which Kodály’s superb, folk-influenced Duo is an impressive antidote. The feverish non-mix of cello and zarb drumming in Georges Aperghis’s Profils does rather outstay its welcome, but even so you end up feeling that an artist of Wieder-Atherton’s individuality has earned the right to conclude with a statement of this kind.