Beyond Twilight: Music for cello & piano by female composers

Faced in 2020–21 with an unexpected break from concert life, cellist Alexandra Mackenzie and pianist Ingrid Sawers devoted much time instead to furthering their longstanding interest in unfamiliar repertoire.Trawling through libraries, both online and in person, they unearthed a treasure trove of short pieces by female composers, some hiding behind bland initials such as ‘A. E. Horrocks’.

Dating from the 1880s to the 1950s, these intimate, quietly powerful works include miniatures by the Scottish cellist Marie Dare and two delightful songs by Gwendolen – later Avril – Coleridge-Taylor, here newly transcribed for cello. A total of fourteen works are presented here, all but five in premiere recordings.

Every one of them deserves to be better known.

"the talented composers and performers represented on this disc have taken the cello out of the shadows and showcased it in all its wonderful glory, illuminating the instrument in a blaze of morning sunshine ... Every piece abundantly shows the aptitude of the composers for conveying different emotions and recognising the cello’s sonorous textures. The responsiveness between Mackenzie’s cello and Sawers’ piano is infused with empathy. This is ably demonstrated in Isobel Dunlop’s rollicking Dance from her Suite. From the outset, the bouncing rhythmic pace is full of electric scales and stunning pizzicato passages. The change of pace in the hauntingly melancholic four-minute Can sorrow find me? by Gwendolen Avril Coleridge-Taylor is another case in point, where the duo catch the wistfulness of the piece or in the foot-tapping habanera of The Spanish Shawl, where their musicianship and accuracy shine through.
Mackenzie makes her instrument sing in all its registers; the tonal, deep sounds are captured with clarity and capaciousness by the recording engineers, ensuring the tone of both instruments is complementary. Each piece is performed with energy, reflection, and precision. Mackenzie and Sawers' accomplished playing and meticulousness to the composers’ intentions, coupled with a pleasant and diverse programme, means this disc will be enjoyed by more than just devotees of the cello"

read the full review here

"A rich seam of music for cello and piano by female composers ..."

"hints of Grieg, with languorous melodies that stretch out like a contented dog by a fire. ... From a shimmering ‘Shieling Song’ to a shaded sea shanty, Mackenzie plays with appropriate panache ... "



"Throughout this recital, the commitment of Mackenzie and Sawers to their cause cannot be doubted, with the only proviso being the relatively uniform expression of what is heard. That said, the overall enrichment of repertoire with several of these miniatures is readily apparent"

Release Date: 20 October 2023
Catalogue No: DCD34306
Total playing time: 1:02:39

Recorded on 17-19 October 2022
in St Mary’s Parish Church, Haddington

Producer/Engineer: Paul Baxter
24-bit digital editing: Jack Davis
24-bit digital mastering: Paul Baxter

Design: Drew Padrutt
Booklet editor: Henry Howard
Cover image: Robert Bereny, Woman Playing Cello, 1928; photo © A. Dagli Orti / © NPL - DeA Picture Library / Bridgeman Images

Session photography : foxbrushfilms.com

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Album Booklet

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