Cellists are fortunate indeed to have their two Brahms sonatas, both masterpieces in their genre. So one can, and certainly will, ask why we need or indeed dare to ‘borrow’ the G major violin sonata and the two clarinet sonatas and thereby make our two into five. Questions that arise: Are we just attempting to reproduce the original work with the necessary pitch and register changes? Can this be an opportunity to give another significance, even a second parallel existence, to a beloved work of art? The answer to the first question must be ‘no’, because such a treatment would simply be arrogant and pointless. To the second, I hope, listeners can agree that the two clarinet sonatas and the G major violin sonata lose nothing in these ‘translations’ and even gain a great deal of new and perhaps unexpected depth and character.
Raphael Wallfisch is one of the most celebrated cellists performing on the international stage. At an early age, Raphael was greatly inspired by hearing Zara Nelsova play, and, guided by a succession of fine teachers including Amaryllis Fleming, Amadeo Baldovino and Derek Simpson, it became apparent that the cello was to be his life's work. While studying with the great Russian cellist Gregor Piatigorsky in California, he was chosen to perform chamber music with Jascha Heifetz in the informal recitals that Piatigorsky held at his home. At the age of twenty-four he won the Gaspar Cassadó International Cello Competition in Florence. Since then he has enjoyed a world-wide career.
John York’s career was launched over 40 years ago when he was awarded the International Debussy Prize in Paris, and it has taken him around the world as soloist with such orchestras as the London Philharmonic and London Mozart Players, and as chamber music partner, primarily with cellist Raphael Wallfisch and (with his wife Fiona) in the piano duo team of York2 and, more recently, Trio York.