Beethoven – Cello Sonatas Voume 2

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5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Beethoven
LABELS: Hyperion
WORKS: Cello Sonatas, Op. 102 Nos 1 & 2; Variations on ‘See the conqu’ring hero comes’ from Handel’s Judas Maccabaeus; Variations on ‘Ein Mädchen oder Weibchen’ from Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte; Variations on ‘Bei Männern, welche Liebe fühlen’ from Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte
PERFORMER: Daniel Müller-Schott (cello), Angela Hewitt (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: CDA67755

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Daniel Müller-Schott and Angela Hewitt gave us some stimulating and insightful performances in their first volume of Beethoven’s complete cello works, though my positive impression of the disc was somewhat marred by a strange recording perspective which placed the cellist far too forward in relation to the pianist.

Fortunately these problems appear to have been ironed out in the second volume. Although recorded in the rather ambient surroundings of Berlin’s Jesus-Christus-Kirche, the engineers have achieved a much more natural balance, with both instruments engaging in a perfectly equitable musical partnership.

Once again Müller-Schott and Hewitt deliver strong and committed performances characterised by great attention to detail and wonderful musical interaction. The three sets of variations are projected with charm, elegance and virtuosity, both players maximising the degree of tonal variety without any recourse to exaggerated mannerism. The Bei Männern Variations are particularly engaging, the extended coda presented with great energy, exhilaration and humour.

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The two late Sonatas are far more challenging from an interpretative point of view, and I especially admire the fantasy that both players bring to the slow introduction to the second movement of the C major, as well as the drive that is so evident in the preceding Allegro vivace. The first movement of the D major is also explosively delineated, the only slight hiccup being Müller-Schott’s somewhat indulgent delivery of his opening phrase. Best of all perhaps is the fugal Finale, displaying Hewitt’s outstanding credentials as an interpreter of Bach. Erik Levi