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Moscheles: Cello Sonata no 2, etc; Hummel / Bárta, Milne

Album Summary

>Moscheles, Ignaz : Sonata for Cello no 2 in E major, Op. 121
>Moscheles, Ignaz : Melodisch-contrapunktische Studien, 10 preludes for cello & piano, Op. 137 (after Bach's Well-Temper
>Hummel, Johann Nepomuk : Sonata for cello & piano in A major, Op. 104
Performers Composers

Notes & Reviews:

Johann Nepomuk Hummel and Ignaz Moscheles were frequently bracketed together in their day as the two piano virtuosos by whom - before the brilliant star of Liszt rose on the horizon - other performers might be measured. Moschelles wrote his rich and virtuosic cello sonata in 1850/1, treating the piano and cello as equals. Hummel's graceful cello sonata is romantic, spacious and immediately attractive.

'Following its delightful versions of his piano concerti, led from the keyboard by Howard Shelley, Hyperion continues its championship of Moscheles's work with the elegant cello sonata dedicated to Schumann. He is often bracketed with his contemporary Hummel, whose own cello sonata is a classic of spacious romanticism. Both are lovingly played by the Czech cellist Jiri Barta' (The Observer)

'The lion's share of the material falls to Hamish Milne, whose liquid-clear articulation allows the music to flow unimpeded by any mannerisms whatsoever. For his part cellist Jiri Barta provides an equally virtuosic and eloquent rendition - taste and idiomatic faithfulness being the key criteria' (The Strad)

'Bárta and Milne strike just the right note: these aren't bravura pieces, and they play them as would two friends convivially making music in the drawing-room and deriving unemphatic pleasure from the experience ... A delightfully demure, teasingly tuneful release, which has brought me much pleasure' (International Record Review)

'with such strong, sympathetic playing and clear, carefully-balanced recordings this Hyperion disc is a must for adventurous cellists and listeners alike' (BBC Music Magazine)

'...the works, intimate in tone and refined in sentiment, make extremely congenial discmates' (Fanfare, USA) 'La sonorité très chaude du violoncelle et l'articulation parfaite du piano conviennent parfaitement au caractère de ces uvres...Il sera difficile de faire mieux dans ce répertoire' (Classica-Répertoire, France)

'Je ne peux ... priver ce CD merveilleux du 10/10 qui lui sied si bien, car cette musique qui n'ambitionne pas d'égaler les Sonates de Beethoven et de Brahms, est une pure merveille' (ClassicsTodayFrance.com)

Gramophone Classical Music Guide
Hummel and Moscheles make an apt pair: each was a keyboard virtuoso who wrote prolifically. Yet where Hummel has been well represented on disc lately, Moscheles is far more neglected. That makes the new issue specially valuable.

Their careers overlapped, but Moscheles lived for 33 years more after Hummel died, actively composing till the last. The works here appeared some three decades apart - not that the stylistic contrast is at all marked, for both adopted an easily lyrical style celebrating the early 19th rather than the 18th century, with Mendelssohn more of an influence than Mozart.

This is particularly so in Moscheles's Cello Sonata of 1850-51, with one or two echoes of the Mendelssohn Octet and with a Scherzo marked ballabile, sparkling in the way one expects of Mendelssohn. The younger composer, a close friend, also influenced Moscheles in his devotion to Bach, represented here by the three Melodic-Contrapuntal Studies, involving flowing melodic writing for the cello neatly fitted to Bach's original keyboard Preludes.

Following tradition, Moscheles gives priority to the piano over the cello in describing the work, not surprising from a pianist-composer, and this recording rather brings that out; the sensitive cellist, Jirí Bárta, is regularly overshadowed.

What is more unexpected is how the last two movements echo Czech music, not just in the rhythms and melodic shapes of some of the themes but in the alternation of speeds; that suggests that Moscheles was influenced by the Czech dumka. The Sonata is rounded off with a dashing movement in which Moscheles encourages the pianist to show off in several passages. Otherwise this is a work designed for intimate music-making, and that is even more clearly so in the Hummel Sonata, which opens with a tripletime Allegro amabile. 'Amiable' is an apt description of the piece, not just in that lyrical first movement but the central Romanze which is rather like early Beethoven. Here, too, there are echoes of the music of eastern Europe in the finale, maybe influenced by Hummel's tours of Russia and Poland.

Though it is a pity that Bárta is not presented as a full equal to Milne (who plays brilliantly), the recording balance is largely to blame. An attractive disc nonetheless.

International Record Review
Bárta and Milne strike just the right note: these aren't bravura pieces, and they play them as would two friends convivially making music in the drawing-room and deriving unemphatic pleasure from the experience ... a delightfully demure, teasingly tuneful release, which has brought me much pleasure



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Works Details

>Moscheles, Ignaz : Sonata for Cello no 2 in E major, Op. 121
  • Performers: Jiri Barta (Cello); Hamish Milne (Piano)
  • Notes: Wathen Hall, St. Paul's School, Barnes, London, England (02/14/2005-02/16/2005)
  • Running Time: 33 min. 19 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1850-1851

>Moscheles, Ignaz : Melodisch-contrapunktische Studien, 10 preludes for cello & piano, Op. 137 (after Bach's Well-Temper
  • Performers: Jiri Barta (Cello); Hamish Milne (Piano)
  • Notes: Wathen Hall, St. Paul's School, Barnes, London, England (02/14/2005-02/16/2005)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 23 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1864

>Moscheles, Ignaz : Melodisch-contrapunktische Studien, 10 preludes for cello & piano, Op. 137 (after Bach's Well-Temper
  • Performers: Jiri Barta (Cello); Hamish Milne (Piano)
  • Notes: Wathen Hall, St. Paul's School, Barnes, London, England (02/14/2005-02/16/2005)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 46 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1864

>Moscheles, Ignaz : Melodisch-contrapunktische Studien, 10 preludes for cello & piano, Op. 137 (after Bach's Well-Temper
  • Performers: Jiri Barta (Cello); Hamish Milne (Piano)
  • Notes: Wathen Hall, St. Paul's School, Barnes, London, England (02/14/2005-02/16/2005)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 11 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1864

>Hummel, Johann Nepomuk : Sonata for cello & piano in A major, Op. 104
  • Performers: Jiri Barta (Cello); Hamish Milne (Piano)
  • Notes: Wathen Hall, St. Paul's School, Barnes, London, England (02/14/2005-02/16/2005)
  • Running Time: 23 min. 9 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1824