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Whettam: Concerto Drammatico

Redcliffe Recordings RR017
Recording Date: 
30 Sep 2000
Recording Venue: 
Krannert Center, Urbana
September 2001

Graham Whettam
"Concerto Drammatico" for cello and orchestra

Martin Rummel, cello
Sinfonia da camera
Ian Hobson, conductor

It was composer David Johnson who put me in touch with pianist/conductor Ian Hobson in the late 1990s which is how the invitation to play with Sinfonia da camera came about, and the recording was made from the dress rehearsal and the world premiere of Graham Whettam's "Concerto Drammatico" in September 2000. Graham and Janet Whettam accompanied me on the trip to the US which started with a couple of performances of Tchaikovsky's Rococo Variations with Shreveport Symphony and Dennis Simons. It was there that I also premiered Graham's "Ballade Hebraique" for cello and orchestra which he had written for me as a present for my American Debut. In Champaign-Urbana's wonderful Krannert Center I played a recital and two days later Graham's cello concerto.

It is a frighteningly difficult work, yet like all Graham's music perfectly playable - not a single bar that does not sound good if practised and rehearsed well. The Scherzo (Danza vigorosa) has 7/8 passages with semiquaver triplets in double stops, but for mastering those I felt rewarded with the opening of the last movement which could be the lost cello concerto by Gustav Mahler. I still do not quite understand why this piece has not made it into the standard repertoire yet ...