Mendelssohn: Cello Sonata No1; Cello Sonata No. 2; Lied ohne Worte, Op. 109; Variations concertantes, Op. 17

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COMPOSERS: Mendelssohn
LABELS: DG
WORKS: Cello Sonata No1; Cello Sonata No. 2; Lied ohne Worte, Op. 109; Variations concertantes, Op. 17
PERFORMER: Mischa Maisky (cello); Sergio Tiempo (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 471 565-2
Mischa Maisky and Sergio Tiempo endow the brilliant opening movement of Mendelssohn’s D major Sonata (No. 2) with all the verve, fleetness and ardour one could desire – in such music their playing is simply ideal. Elsewhere, however, their vibrant and intense approach can seem misplaced. This dramatically charged account of the Variations concertantes is quite astounding, but can one hear it without wondering whether a little inwardness might not be just as eloquent? Tiempo’s arpeggiated chords at the beginning of the Adagio in the D major Sonata sound erotic, almost luridly so, but I’m not convinced that an evocation of grand dignity would not be more to the point. And although much of the finale in the same work is congenial material for these players, their forceful treatment of the opening accents borders on the brutal. In sum, the playing on this disc is of a very high order, but the performers’ more passionate, heavily inflected and disturbing view of the composer’s style will not be to all tastes. Perhaps the medium is the difficulty: I can imagine being utterly swept away by these performances in concert, but on disc they may be too intense for their own good. David Breckbill

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