Cello Sonata No. 1 in E minor
21 Hungarian Dances arr. Barralet
James Barralet (vc) and Simon Callaghan (pno)
Recorded on the SOMM label.
“EDITOR’S CHOICE: It’s very unusual to feel happily exalted after listening to the first cello sonata, which consists of four movements in minor keys. What a passionate and spontaneous cello playing! The freedom of tempo shifts and bold dynamics are all as if the stirring movements of his spirits. Barralet, the young cellist here, when not too busy with his musical activities, apparently travels to the Alps and take a ride on his electronic bicycle. You bet, then his arrangements of the Hungarian Dances are a triumph. The piano playing is also thrilling, crossing swords in both the sonata and the dances as if they hit it off with each other completely. It looks like the idea is that, having Callaghan as the main artist, they are planning to go on recording Brahm’s chamber oeuvres. Their 2nd volume, containing the other sonata, trio no.2 and Op.91 (songs) arranged by Barralet as duo [sic.]! will come out soon. I look forward to it very much.” – Record Geijutsu Magazine, Japan
“Barralet’s playing certainly won’t disappoint… A passionate and cultivated account of the E minor sonata.” – International Record Review
“… Here Barralet displays the burnished singing tone which he uses throughout the disc. The piano tone is admirably clear, and the two performers bring a nice clarity to the work. This is very much an impulsive young men’s performance without any portentousness or over-cooked romantic tone. Barralet’s rich tones contrast nicely with the piano. There is a wonderful impulsion to the passionate moments with nice flexible rubato using lots of small adjustments rather than big gestures… Barralet and Callaghan have a well balanced partnership with good give and take between them.
Here Barralet has arranged all (the Hungarian Dances) for cello and piano in transcriptions which sound convincingly faithful to the originals. The results have great charm and plenty of gypsy-themed schwung, but also give Barralet a chance to display his soulful side,with some gloriously played melodies. Barralet is well supported by Callaghan’s deft piano work and the two make some delightful combinations in the music, combining gypsy passion with delicacy and passion.” – Planet Hugill