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Mendelssohn: Works For Cello & Piano / Paul Watkins, Huw Watkins

Mendelssohn / Watkins
Release Date: 11/15/2011 
Label:  Chandos   Catalog #: 10701  
Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn
Performer:  Paul WatkinsHuw Watkins
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

The rapt quality of the music and music-making is so impressive.

Mendelssohn’s complete original works for cello and piano - excluding transcriptions of works for other combinations - fit very neatly onto a single disc. More importantly, they form an excellent and well contrasted programme. The range encompasses the concise but very varied Op. 17 variations and the brief but memorable Op. 109 to the two Sonatas which are amongst the composer’s most attractive works. It is therefore surprising that there are relatively few recordings available, but all the more pleasing to listen to such a superb version as Chandos have produced here.

Paul Watkins is above all else a musician of the utmost subtlety, taste
Read more and insight. His experience as an orchestral and chamber music player stands him in good stead. It helps ensure that what we hear is a real partnership with his brother, rather than two virtuosi showing off in the undoubtedly very showy music that Mendelssohn gives them at times. There is a real sense of dialogue throughout. The composer may have referred to Op. 109 as a Song without Words but the sheer eloquence of the playing makes the lack of words no obstacle to the sense of narrative conveyed. Throughout the disc subtle phrasing and timing convey a real sense of conversation of a very deep kind and on a very civilized level. The two Sonatas, amongst the composer’s best works, are played with real conviction and character. Paul Watkins’ ability to vary tone colour and his mastery of rubato prevents any hint of routine even in the long opening movement of Op. 45. Op. 58 launches, as it should, with an outburst of joy, and musical concentration is never allowed to lapse.

The booklet includes an excellent note about the music by Bayan Northcott and the recording is realistic and well balanced. All in all this is a disc of superb quality which should do much to enhance even further the reputation of these two fine players. The nineteenth century critic the Rev H Haweis (author of Music and Morals) pointed out that words set in Elijah “And after the fire a still small voice; and in that still voice onward came the Lord” could be applied more generally to the music of Mendelssohn. It is indeed the rapt quality of the music and music-making here – even when the music is fast and full of notes – that is so impressive.

-- John Sheppard, MusicWeb International
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Works on This Recording

1. Variations Concertantes for Cello and Piano, Op. 17 by Felix Mendelssohn
Performer:  Paul Watkins (Cello), Huw Watkins (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1829; Germany 
2. Song without words for Cello and Piano in D major, Op. 109 by Felix Mendelssohn
Performer:  Paul Watkins (Cello), Huw Watkins (Piano)
Written: 1845 
3. Sonata for Cello and Piano no 2 in D major, Op. 58 by Felix Mendelssohn
Performer:  Paul Watkins (Cello), Huw Watkins (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1843; Germany 
4. Sonata for Cello and Piano no 1 in B flat major, Op. 45 by Felix Mendelssohn
Performer:  Paul Watkins (Cello), Huw Watkins (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1838; Germany 

Sound Samples

Cello Sonata No. 1 in B flat major, Op. 45: I. Allegro vivace
Cello Sonata No. 1 in B flat major, Op. 45: II. Andante
Cello Sonata No. 1 in B flat major, Op. 45: III. Allegro assai
Variations concertantes in D major, Op. 17: Thema: Andante con moto
Variations concertantes in D major, Op. 17: Variation 1
Variations concertantes in D major, Op. 17: Variation 2
Variations concertantes in D major, Op. 17: Variation 3: Piu vivace
Variations concertantes in D major, Op. 17: Variation 4: Allegro con fuoco
Variations concertantes in D major, Op. 17: Variation 5: L'istesso tempo
Variations concertantes in D major, Op. 17: Variation 6: L'istesso tempo
Variations concertantes in D major, Op. 17: Variation 7: Presto ed agitato
Variations concertantes in D major, Op. 17: Variation 8: Tempo I -
Variations concertantes in D major, Op. 17: Coda
Lied ohne Worte (Song without Words), Op. 109: Lied ohne worte (Song without Words), Op. 109
Cello Sonata No. 2 in D major, Op. 58: I. Allegro assai vivace
Cello Sonata No. 2 in D major, Op. 58: II. Allegretto scherzando
Cello Sonata No. 2 in D major, Op. 58: III. Adagio
Cello Sonata No. 2 in D major, Op. 58: IV. Molto allegro e vivace

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