Ysaÿ, Lekeu, Franck

Ysaÿe: Wallfisch’s account is magnificent – full-blooded, yet very clear and precise.

Lekeu: York and Wallfisch make the more intense music emerge from a deeply contemplative mood.

Gramophone

Wordsworth – Holbrooke – Busch: British Music for Cello and Piano

The performances are quite outstandingly eloquent, the sound sumptuous and true … A super disc, this, and urgently recommended to all Anglophiles.
Andrew Achenbach, Gramophone – Recommended Recording, November 2010

Wholehearted and committed performances from Raphael Wallfisch and Raphael Terroni make the best of these neglected but often beautiful works which deserve to be better known. Their immaculately played readings present the perfect blend of technique and musicality, and they are well served by a warm, natural recorded sound.
Hubert Culot, MusicWeb

Heartfelt thanks once again to the BMS for another triumphant disc.
Nick Barnard, MusicWeb

If ever there was an advertisement for three composers who are largely ignored by listeners and the musical establishment alike, it is this CD. Busch,Wordsworth and Holbrooke are important composers who ought to be understood and enjoyed and appreciated as part of the British musical canon. This CD goes far in promoting this ambition.
John France, MusicWeb

… I urge this important new CD upon all those who are keen to explore the music of lesser-known composers … The performances, as I have suggested, are very good indeed. This is another success to add to the growing list of worthwhile BMS releases.
Robert Matthew-Walker, International Record Review

Adrian Williams – Images of a Mind

Like Britten, [Williams] uses the cello’s expressive palette to the full: slap pizzicato, stopped harmonics, scurrying sul ponticello – the works. Williams’s cello music is fortunate to have such a convincing champion as Wallfisch, technically expert enough to meet its considerable demands, and able to adapt his tone to its myriad mood shifts.

Janet Banks – BBC Music Magazine

Call me cynical, hard-bitten or whatever, but usually I wouldn’t expect to be gripped quite so deeply by new works from a comparatively little-known British contemporary composer, though Adrian Williams’s (b.1956) music certainly hits the spot decisively throughout this excellent disc. The late Sir John Betjeman wrote of Williams “I can imagine him on those hills plucking sounds from the air”. And indeed, after hearing this disc, it’s easy to appreciate the composer’s own observation that “my inspirational catalyst is the nearness to open spaces, to physical place and landscape…” Williams himself partners cellist Raphael Wallfisch in his Spring Requiem, Quatre Cantilenes and Images of a Mind. These are highly communicative and spontaneous works, most beautifully played and recorded. I found the solo cello sonata worked best, possibly because of its more regular and predictable structure, but these are impressive additions to the modern cello repertory. Highly recommended.

Michael Jameson – Classic CD

Tchaikovsky – Rococo Variations Op. 33

This account of the Rococo Variations is the one to have: it presents Tchaikovsky’s variations as he wrote them, in the order that he devised and including the allegretto moderato con anima that the work’s first interpreter, ‘loathsome Fitzenhagen’, so high-handedly jettisoned … Raphael Wallfisch’s fine performance keeps the qualifying adjective ‘rococo’ in mind – it is not indulgently overromantic – but it has warmth and beauty of tone in abundance.

Gramophone Classical Good CD Guide 2004

… if Wallfisch is not a major talent, then this reviewer has never heard one. His tone is gorgeous and his phrasing and pacing are supremely eloquent.

Fanfare Magazine

Shostakovich – Complete Works for Cello

On this superbly recorded two-CD set, cellist Raphael Wallfisch, pianist John York, conductor Martyn Brabbins, and the BBC Symphony Orchestra make the strongest possible case for the worth of the Moderato and Adagio; indeed, Wallfisch all by himself makes the strongest possible case for the worth of Shostakovich’s complete cello works. Always an extremely expressive cellist with a big tone, a fabulous technique, and a winning interpretation, Wallfisch gives better than his best with playing of consummate musicianship and interpretations of immense depth and tremendous compassion. Wallfisch seems to do more than perform the music here; he appears to inhabit it, to incarnate it in interpretations of emphatic understanding. Conductor Brabbins is a sympathetic accompanist and he leads the BBC through performances of blazing intensity. Pianist York is a powerful partner and he drives as much as he supports Wallfisch. Taken all together, most listeners would probably agree that, at least in these performances, all six works constitute Shostakovich’s complete cello works. Nimbus’ sound is exemplary: clear, close, and direct in the cello and piano works and big, clean, and vivid in the cello and orchestra works.
www.allmusic.com

Shchedrin: Ancient Melodies of Russian folk-songs, Cello Sonata

What makes the collection especially exciting is the rarity of having the composer accompany a world famous soloist. One now almost certainly knows that this is how the music is meant to sound.

The Sonata is the main work on the disc … [it] falls into three unconventional movements and is, in my view, a stunning work. Certainly, as Calum McDonald admits, right from the start you feel the presence of Shostakovich.

As for the performance it is very powerful. I am sure that all performers would admit that there is no such thing as a perfect technique and the composer certainly stretches the cellist’s skills. This is at times almost beyond the possible. This is true particularly in the upper register and even the great Raphael Wallfisch would agree.

The recording is first class and I must add how much I always like Nimbus’s house style of booklet photography.

Gary Higginson – MusicWeb International

Foulds – Cello Concerto, Sainsbury – Cello Concerto

Lionel Sainsbury’s vibrant concerto of 1999 is heart-on-the-sleeve music, painted in bold colours, and could hardly find more enthusiastic interpreters than Wallfisch and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. The soloist’s role here is one of an extrovert leader and Wallfisch, recorded well to the fore, brings vitality amd a range of emotion to the part, his beautifully focused sound taking on an urgency in its high reaches in the first movement and soaring eloquently in the intese slow movement. [John Fould’s Concerto] is full of attractive melodies. Wallfisch’s sound is not recorded quite so prominently, but his cadenza in the finale, brilliantly executed, takes his cello through virtuosic heights of double-stopping.

Janet Banks, The Strad, July 2012

If you respond well to tonal, melodious, well-written music, you will probably respond to this, especially in such an authoritative performance as this one from Raphael Wallfisch, a cellist to whom many a composer has reason to be grateful … I don’t think either of these concertos is an undiscovered masterpiece, but both are serious and satisfying works, worthy of our attention. Wallfisch is the natural choice as soloist. He plays with supreme authority in both works, devoting the same energy and care as he would to thegreatest works in the repertoire. Martin Yates, too, has shown his willingness to explore these musical backwaters, and the two orchestras play marvellously well under his direction.

William Hedley, International Record Review May 2012