In the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries many British composers produced superb works for cello and piano, but few of these actually made their way into the general repertoire. Here we have four very different works by four very distinct musical personalities, performed by the cellist Paul Watkins, an exclusive Chandos artist, accompanied by his brother, Huw Watkins.
Sean Watkins has had a prolific couple of years. In addition to Nickel Creek’s long-awaited comeback album A Dotted Line in 2014, Watkins also released a solo record, All I Do Is Lie in the summer of 2014 and the collaborative covers album The Watkins Family Hour in 2015. Plus he toured with all three acts in between. Now he’s back with another solo album, and What to Fear continues his streak of strong releases.
Bob Schneider is one talented guy. There's nothing he's done that isn't fantastic. But Underneath The Onion Trees is even better than much of his other work. It's a mellow, acoustic side of Bob that we've seen glimpses of on other albums. Mitch Watkins is the guitarist here, and he's amazing. His playing is stunningly beautiful, and Bob has provided some lovely songs to go with Mitch's playing.
Brothers Paul and Huw Watkins British Works for Cello and Piano, a series remain[ing] by far the best recorded guides to this powerful and enjoyable repertoire according to BBC Music, reaches its fourth volume. Following Kenneth Leightons three-movement Partita, op. 35 comes Elisabeth Lutyens Constants, op. 110, whose four melodic and harmonic intervallic constants are used exclusively throughout the work. Alun Hoddinotts Sonata, op. 96/1 is notable for its clear, open textures, often of two-part counterpoint. Richard Rodney Bennetts four-movement Sonata ends the program.
"…Stefan Irmer has clearly studied and truly learned this music. So often on a disc of rarely performed music one gets the feeling that the pianist is sight-reading the notes in order to make a recording of previously unrecorded music. Not so here. Irmer performs with wonderful clarity, variety of tone, panache, and commitment. He truly sells the music.
Natural recorded sound, capturing very well the 1901 Steinway used for the recording, rounds out a delightful disc." ~Fanfare
Kit Watkins has played keyboards for Happy The Man, Tone Ghost Either, and between 1979-1982 was a member of Camel (recording on I Can See Your House From Here as well as On the Road 1981 and On The Road 1982). He has also perfomred on recordings by Forrest Fang, The Blind Messenger, Richard Sinclair, Paul Adams and Djam Karet.
Nearly all art is created out of memory. On This Time and Space, Kit Watkins seems truly in tune with this idea. The seven tracks conjure up a hushed intimacy of whispered tones and heartrending synthscapes - aural recollections of tranquility, sacred bliss and the inner reflectivity of the mind. Watkins is renowned as a musician of both capacity and credentials, one with image matching substance. He often explores familiar themes yet consistently comes up with music that is more expansive than cliches…