The British Cello


Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958)

Six Studies in English Folk Song

Frank Bridge (1879-1941)

Sonata for Cello and Piano in D minor, H 125

British cellist Paul Marleyn (professor of cello, Ottawa University) and pianist Carson Becke share a  musical heritage: both spent a portion of their formative musical years in the United Kingdom, and both were students at the Royal Academy of Music in London.  In celebration of this shared heritage, they explore music for cello and piano by three of the most influential British composers of the twentieth century.  All of Vaughan Williams' output is intimately connected to the folk music traditions of the British Isles: he spent significant time traveling the British countryside notating folk tunes as he heard them sung.  The Six Studies distill his understanding of English folk tunes to their essence.  Frank Bridge laboured over his Sonata for Cello and Piano for four years, between 1913 and 1917, and its composition is saturated with Bridge's intense despair over the outbreak of the First World War (Bridge was a staunch pacifist).  Its language is a synthesis of the late romantic idiom that informed his earliest works, and the more experimental modernism that was to be a hallmark of his later style.  Benjamin Britten studied with Frank Bridge. Britten's Cello Sonata was the result of his meeting with the famous Russian cellist Mstislav Rostropovich (1927-2007):  Rostropovich asked Britten to write a piece for him, and the Cello Sonata was the first of many.  The piece is largely based on Rostropovich's muscular, physical approach to the cello, and calls to mind the sound of Dmitri Shostakovich's cello music, with which Rostropovich was closely associated.  

Benjamin Britten (1913-1976)

Cello Sonata, op. 65

Saturday, November 21st, 2020

7:00-9:00 pm EST

Concert 1:

Sunday, November 22nd, 2020

2:00-4:00 pm EST

Concert 2:


Paul Marleyn, celloCarson Becke, piano