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Mendelssohn: Works for Cello and Piano / Paul Watkins, cello; Huw Watkins, piano

Album Summary

>Mendelssohn, Felix : Sonata for cello & piano no 1 in B flat major, Op. 45
>Mendelssohn, Felix : Variations Concertantes for Cello and Piano, Op. 17
>Mendelssohn, Felix : Song Without Words for piano in D major
>Mendelssohn, Felix : Sonata for cello & piano no 2 in D major, Op. 58
Performers Composer

Notes & Reviews:

The Watkins brothers, Huw and Paul, join forces to perform works by Mendelssohn for cello and piano. The 2 Sonatas for Cello and Piano which Mendelssohn composed for his younger brother, a cellist, are characterized by a strong and complex undercurrent of feeling, and superb artistry. Song without Words, Op. 109 written for cello & piano, was dedicated by Mendelssohn to Lisa Cristiani, one of the few women cellists of the time. Huw a highly regarded performer of contemporary and 20th century works is also a composer. Paul is one of Britain's foremost cellists, performing regularly with the major British orchestras.

"The Watkins' extraordinary fraternal partnership resonates with Mendelssohn's own relationship to his cellist brother, Paul. Here, Huw (a composer and pianist) and elder brother (a cellist and conductor) combine to create performances of warmth and intelligence. Their Variations concertantes are irresistably ebullient: there's real fire in the belly of the fourth variation...these are good performances with a true Mendelssohnian spirit." -BBC Music Magazine

"The two sonatas lie somewhere between Beethoven and Brahms but still have Mendelssohn's own stamp of fresh individuality...There have been plenty of recommendable recordings of this music...but this finely balanced and recorded Chandos CD now stands high on the list of recommendations." -Gramophone

"This glittering, calm sub-oeuvre fits compactly on a CD and is beautifully performed by the versatile Watkins brothers...The cellist’s tone in Op 109, as throughout the sequence, combines the most immediate speaking quality (though absent, words seem imminent) with an immaculate shining loveliness" -The Sunday Times

"The fluency of Mendelssohn’s ideas, his polished craftsmanship and the music’s generally sunny disposition are matched by playing that has real verve, expressive finesse and an infectious romantic spirit." -The Daily Telegraph

Classic FM Magazine
The Watkins brothers play Mendelssohn's life-enhancing Second Cello Sonata with an infectious vitality and lyrical radiance that is unforgettable... The Variations concertantes receives a desert island performance that brims over with infectious bonhomie.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Potton Hall, Dunwich, Suffolk (05/10/2011-05/12/2011).



Reviews

Warm, pleasing Mendelssohn
This disc starts with Sonata No. 1, Op. 45, and right from the beginning we get dark chords followed by bright notes in the piano and warm melodic lines from the cello. The piano is nimble, the cello sensitive, and this listener felt that he was in for a treat on this disc. In the second movement Paul Watkins cello grabs the attention, resuming a more even partnership with the piano in the energetic third movement. Ahhhh…this is wonderful!

Next up is a series of Variations Concertantes, Op. 17, and in each of these the cello and piano make good partners – Paul Watkins (cello) and Huw Watkins (piano) really sound good together and complement each other. It is easy to get lost in the variations, the music making is so good, and Mendelssohn’s material is delightful. Following this is the Lied ohne Worte, Op. 109, and it is captivating, joyful, evocative, simple, somber, and complex all at the same time and in succession. The artists do a fantastic job here.

The last piece is Sonata No. 2, Op. 58, and once again the Watkins’ bring the work to life. Chamber music is essentially a conversation between the instruments involved, and it is incredibly evident here in this work. The cello and piano are like old friends sharing an afternoon of experiences, with each movement more emotionally intoxicating than the last. The third movement particularly stood out for me, with sweeping lines from the cello and sensitive accompaniment from the piano – just simply gorgeous.

The recording quality itself is exceptional, and I can’t say enough about the interplay between the two brothers and their instruments. I really liked this disc a lot. If you love Mendelssohn, you won’t be disappointed!

Submitted on 03/21/12 by KlingonOpera 
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Works Details

>Mendelssohn, Felix : Sonata for cello & piano no 1 in B flat major, Op. 45
  • Performers: Huw Watkins (Piano); Paul Watkins (Cello)
  • Notes: Potton Hall, Dunwich, Suffolk (05/10/2011-05/12/2011)
  • Running Time: 23 min. 26 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 10/13/1838

>Mendelssohn, Felix : Variations Concertantes for Cello and Piano, Op. 17
  • Performers: Huw Watkins (Piano); Paul Watkins (Cello)
  • Notes: Potton Hall, Dunwich, Suffolk (05/10/2011-05/12/2011)
  • Running Time: 5 min. 23 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 01/30/1829

>Mendelssohn, Felix : Song Without Words for piano in D major
  • Performers: Huw Watkins (Piano); Paul Watkins (Cello)
  • Notes: Potton Hall, Dunwich, Suffolk (05/10/2011-05/12/2011)
  • Running Time: 4 min. 14 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Vocal
  • Written: 03/18/1843

>Mendelssohn, Felix : Sonata for cello & piano no 2 in D major, Op. 58
  • Performers: Huw Watkins (Piano); Paul Watkins (Cello)
  • Notes: Potton Hall, Dunwich, Suffolk (05/10/2011-05/12/2011)
  • Running Time: 25 min. 1 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: circa 06/1843