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Northern Cello

Music for cello from composers who lived and live in northern Europe. Zoe Knighton is joined by pianist Ian Munro on piano to present gorgeous gems from Edvard Grieg, Jean Sibelius, Peteris Vasks and Arvo Pärt.

Zoe Knighton and Ian Munro have had a long association together as chamber musicians and here celebrate by collaborating on a unique combination of beautiful northern European melodies.

Using the the magnificently romantic Grieg sonata as their centrepiece, this CD presents a diverse program from the haunting beauty of Väsk's "Gramata Cellam" to the grand beauty of Grieg.

Described a musicians of 'color and flair' (Munro) with a 'thrilling tenor sound" (Knighton) this is a CD not to be missed.

You can watch a video of a piece by Sibelius "Romance" on YouTube which was made during the recording sessions:


Zoe Knighton

Zoe is at the fore of a new generation of performer intent on forging an innovative path for the enjoyment of 'classical' music. She is a founding member of Flinders Quartet

Ian Munro

Ian Munro has emerged over recent years as one of Australia’s most distinguished and awarded musicians, with a career that has taken him to thirty countries in Europe, Asia, North America and Australasia.

Press quotes

“They bring a fine musical understanding to Grieg's cello sonata ... as well as pieces by Sibelius and Part. The CD traverses Grieg's romantic lyricism to Part's minimalism ... his Gramata Cellam is a tour de force. Knighton brings a rich and supple tone, and a lovely sense of line, while Munro's contribution is beautifully nuanced.” ★★★★

— Barney Zwartz, Sydney Morning Herald

“Cello and piano sing a Southern Hemisphere’s ode to the North. Grieg’s Cello Sonata in A Minor is infused with burgeoning energy and elation alike. As agitated as its Allegro agitato may be, Knighton still hints at moments of calm – a lullaby set against droplets of piano. The Andante molto tranquillo is bravely vulnerable and homely. Although it’s a minor-key work the duo leaves us with a feeling of optimism. It’s magnificently paired with the composer’s Elegiac Melodies, Op. 34. The latter opens with the slow melodic plod of the Herzwunden, before the glorious emotional strains of Letzter Frühling. Sibelius’ Four Pieces for Cello and Piano, Op. 78, offers a refreshing layer within the release – his Romance strengthening the passion before a docile Religioso, and a subtle Rigaudon to close.” ★★★½

— Stephanie Eslake, Limelight

“... while Grieg was undoubtedly happiest in miniature forms and lyrical moods, it is by no means to suggest that his work lacks tension and drama. And this is what Zoe Knighton and Ian Munro find in their reading of the Cello Sonata, one of Grieg’s last chamber pieces, in this charming survey of northern music for cello and piano. It’s a piece that displays Grieg’s ambivalence toward the Germanic sonata tradition. Knighton and Munro nicely capture the first movement’s initial urgency and sudden switch to soulful lyricism, where Munro picks out a gleaming line above Knighton’s undulating motifs. Sudden contrasts and moments of forthright rhetoric, rather than classical ‘development’, drive this movement, but Knighton and Munro are careful not to leave the impression of a bunch of disparate fragments. The coda of the movement is especially ‘Norwegian’ Grieg in its use of a driving short motif, and in the slow movement he returns to an explicitly nationalist tune, the march from Sigurd Jorsalfar. But it is played whimsically on the piano with quirky harmony, as if it were Grieg’s friend Grainger improvising, before being joined in passionate melancholy by the cello. I imagine there are passages where the balance is a challenge, but here it is just fine, the piano never overshadowing the cello, and the cello never sounding strained even in the high register where it spends a good deal of time. Knighton and Munro also make nice work of the substantial finale, which, like the first movement, is structured around dramatic contrasts of different material, though the whole thing is suffused with the gapped three-note motif that is a core element in Grieg’s overtly Norwegian music.”

— Gordon Kerry, Music Trust e-zine (Loud Mouth)

Track Listing

    Cello Sonata in A minor, Op. 36 Edvard Grieg

  1. Allegro agitato
  2. Andante molto tranquillo
  3. Allegro
  4. Elegiac melodies, Op. 34 Edvard Grieg

  5. Herzwunden
  6. Letzter Frühling
  7. Four pieces for cello and piano, Op. 78 Jean Sibelius

  8. Impromptu
  9. Romance
  10. Religioso
  11. Rigaudon
  12. Gramata Cellam (For solo cello) Pēteris Vasks

  13. Fortissimo marcatissimo
  14. Pianissimo dolcissimo
  15. Fratres Arvo Pärt



Where to buy

Northern Cello is available for download from the iTunes Music Store.
It's available for streaming through Apple Music.

Northern Cello is available as as CD. It can be purchased online through Buywell Music or the Australian Music Centre which both offer secure online ordering.

Move CDs can be ordered through music retailers across Australia including Readings.

Product details

List price
$25.00 AUD
Release date
July 2017
© 2017 Move Records
℗ 2017 Move Records
Catalogue number
MD 3420
Alternate catalogue number
EAN 9314574342024