Martin Anderson

A disc of unknown music for three and (mostly) four cellos may not seem among the most obvious proposals for inclusion on your must-buy list of CDs, but this one simply demands to be heard and enjoyed, in the same deep glow of warm contentment as comes from a glass of Laphroaig taken in a leather chair in front of a roaring log fire on a winter evening. One might imagine that the sound of cello ensemble might pall when extended over an hour, but not a bit of it; the repertoire has been skilfully chosen to show off the sheer richness of the sound of a cello quartet, and this listener has played the disc again and again with enchantment growing apace on each occasion.

That repertoire will require some explanation; Enrico Mainardi and Joaquin Rodrigo are the only names here you are likely to recognise, though I have to admit that this gentle, achingly lovely Notturno is the first piece of Mainardi’s I recall hearing, and Rodrigo’s Dos Piezas is hardly the best explored corner of his catalog……Marie Dare was..plainly capable of a delicate melodic line and some beautiful harmonies – the Elegie, for example, is a moving exercise in emotional restraint. The Quartet for Cellos by Nigel Don is similarly discreet, though with a hint of warm humor. And the Serenade by Anita Hewitt-Jones and the three-cello Rumba of Michael Norris are easygoing miniatures of little weight but considerable charm. All in all, a most endearing disc.

—Martin Anderson