Over Under
Luke Severn, cello; Evan Fein, piano
Move Records
MCD 611
3 1/2 Stars

Over Under cd cover

I imagine that the title of this release refers to the fact that the musicians involved hail from different hemispheres, but have also performed together in both the USA and Australia. Luke Severn is Australian and currently the artistic director and principal conductor of the Bendigo Symphony Orchestra. He is a cellist and, as a champion of contemporary repertoire, has commissioned a sonata from his friend Evan Fein.

Fein is from Cleveland, Ohio, and is a composer, pianist, and teacher with a division of the Juilliard School. On this album they play Fein’s Sonata for Cello and Piano No 2 and Brahms’s Sonata for Cello and Piano no 1. Fein describes the first movement of his sonata as ‘serene, warm’, the second as ‘redemptive, resonant’, and so on: I was impressed by the steely resolve and sense of purpose and destination that underpinned the varied moods of the composition. Grieg saw the Brahms as a ‘landscape torn by mists and clouds, in which I can see the ruins of old churches’, an apt description for both pieces, Brahms with his echoes of Bach, Fein with his hints of Brahms. – Paul Cooke