Header image of page : STEVEN ISSERLIS / CONNIE SHIH
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STEVEN ISSERLIS / CONNIE SHIH

Saint-Saëns, Holmès, Fauré, Chaminade, Adès
Poetic works by 20th century French composers feature alongside Thomas Adès’ Lieux retrouvés, written for Steven Isserlis, who performs with Connie Shih.
Programme

CAMILLE SAINT-SAËNS
Cello Sonata No. 1 in C minor Op. 32

AUGUSTA HOLMÈS
Récitatif et chant from La vision de la reine

GABRIEL FAURÉ
Cello Sonata No. 2 in G minor Op. 117

CÉCILE CHAMINADE
Sommeil d’enfant, transcription for cello and piano Op. 125

THOMAS ADÈS
Lieux retrouvés

Saint-Saëns’s Cello Sonata No. 1 of 1872 draws on his organist career via a second movement based on one of his organ improvisations, and on grand opera via its finale’s quotation from Meyerbeer’s L’Africaine — possibly a favourite of his mother’s, for whom he rewrote the movement when she didn’t like the original. Meanwhile the first woman to have a work staged at the Paris Opera was Augusta Holmès, in 1895. This transcription from her cantata of the same year depicts the minstrel cello using the “ardent magic of his beautiful sounds” to intercede with the Immortals to protect the queen’s infant son, then the Immortals’ response. More cello lyricism is heard in Fauré’s Cello Sonata No. 2 of 1921, notably its slow movement’s long-lined song. Still more comes via Cecile Chaminade’s Child’s Slumber. French-influenced Thomas Adès’s 2009 Lieux retrouvés then contrast nature with a hectic city.