Imogen Cooper


En Sonate / In Sonata

Composed by Franz Schubert, Zoltán Kodály, Reinhold Gliere, Franz Liszt

Performed by Imogen Cooper, Sonia Wieder-Atherton, Raphaël Oleg, Francoise Rivalland

RCA Red Seal / 655-273-2

Profile is the newly recorded cherry on the rich cake of 'En Sonate', BMG France's retrospective of the cellist's recordings with pianist Imogen Cooper and violinist Raphael Oleg — 'musicians whom I like deeply playing with' — to form two 'journeys'. And there are sonatas, by Ravel, Rachmaninov and Schubert, but English monoglots shouldn't be puzzled by the inclusion of an imaginative selection of Liszt, Gliere and Kodaly that doesn't conform to the three-movement structure implied by the name; en senate is French for 'in partnership'. As to her thoughts on Mark Twain's dictum that 'there ain't no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them', I couldn't say, but I know that she feels diffident about musical compasses. On the one hand, 'It's not an intellectual choice of journey — it's more of an emotional direction'; on the other, when I suggest that she must have had something in mind with an arrangement of Liszt's late and gloomy Le lugubre gondole flanked by Schubert's Litanei (likewise transcribed) and his Arpeggione Sonata, she accepts that 'I propose something, and the proposal is probably strong.' 'But', she continues, 'it's like editing in film: you see something, and then when you see it after something else you see it differently. And you can do that on a CD.' Indeed, the passage from light to dark is as clear to the ear as it would be to the eye. Wieder-Atherton and Cooper were both 'amazed' by the Liszt: 'it pushes the cello to find a sound which almost isn't a sound any more but it's like from someone who is dying — a death rattle.

Interview with Sonia Wieder Atherton, Gramophone Magazine