Notes and Editorial Reviews
This is a very beautiful disc of elegant, finely made chamber music. Good cello sonatas are not exactly thick on the field, offering serious problems in terms of balance and timbral possibilities between the two players. But both Hummel and Moscheles know what they are doing. Hummel's piece, in three sunny, gracious movements, reveals the same mixture of "Mozart meets Chopin" familiar from his piano concertos, which have received some well-deserved attention on disc. The tunes are instantly appealing, the large-scale structure satisfying, and the playing in this performance is the epitome of that convivial give-and-take that should characterize all good chamber music.
The Moscheles sonata, dating from the mid-19th
century, is more interesting still. In particular, it has a gorgeous slow Ballade marked "In the Bohemian style"--and sure enough you might mistake it for a lost Dumka of Dvorák, except that it predates the great Czech composer's nationalist period by nearly two decades. At more than half an hour in length (four movements) the piece is as grand in scale as it is confidently executed. You would expect the warm-toned cellist Jirí Bárta to nail the Czech-flavored elements, and so he does, but then both he and his partner at the keyboard, Hamish Milne, make beautiful music together from first note to last.
Moscheles' curious arrangements for cello and piano of three Bach preludes from the Well-Tempered Clavier come as a welcome bonus. They certainly don't sound very Bach-like in their new dress, but that isn't the point. They offer a fascinating, 19th-century gloss on music of the Baroque period. Hyperion's sonics are typically fine, and the balance between the two players (always tricky in this medium) is unfailingly well-judged. Special praise must go to pianist Hamish Milne, who offers sensitive accompaniments without ever sounding unduly restrained, and who always knows when to slip into the spotlight. In sum, this is a lovely disc that will appeal to listeners who like their music civilized, without that term serving as a euphemism for "boring".
--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
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