Notes and Editorial Reviews
Cello Sonatas: No. 1; No. 2. Variations Concertantes.
Album Leaf. Songs Without Words
Daniel Müller-Schott (vc); Jonathan Gilad (pn)
ORFEO C 750 101 A (72:28)
Mendelssohn’s two cello sonatas and his Variations Concertantes are beautiful music not often heard, thus sadly neglected. The performances here by cellist Daniel Müller-Schott and pianist Jonathan Gilad correct this state of neglect with an excellence of musical understanding and playing
technique not often encountered. The inclusion of two
Songs Without Words
transcribed by the cellist for cello and piano are mere fillers, each lasting less than three minutes and contributing little to this disc. One of these gratuitous additions is the out-to-pasture warhorse “On Wings of Song.” A third
Song Without Words
for cello and piano by Mendelssohn (op. 109) is also included, with good sense.
Daniel Müller-Schott is a young, but already world-renowned, cellist with a marvelous tone and technique. He studied under Steven Isserlis and Heinrich Schiff. He was only 15 when he won first prize at the International Tchaikovsky Competition for Young Musicians. He has appeared throughout the world as soloist with many leading conductors; has also played much chamber music with such partners as Jonathan Biss, Julia Fischer, Angela Hewitt, and Anne-Sophie Mutter.
Jonathan Gilad is a young French pianist who won many awards while still a child and teenager. He has played in festivals throughout the world and appeared with many prominent conductors and orchestras. His chamber-music partners include Julia Fischer, Nikolaj Znaider, and the Capuçon brothers.
Mendelssohn dedicated the Sonata No. 1 and the Variations Concertantes to his younger brother, Paul, who played cello but entered the family banking business. Both sonatas and the Variations Concertantes are among the best of Mendelssohn’s chamber music, and here they are masterfully performed. The fillers can be ignored without loss. This is a highly recommended disc. In
33:5 I reviewed a disc with similar content by cellist David Geringas and pianist Ian Fountain, and with a similar mixture of praise and criticism. My high recommendation of that disc remains. In comparison, Müller-Schott and Gilad give the Sonata No. 1 a more coherent reading than do Geringas and Fountain. You still need both approaches for a fuller understanding of this great music.
FANFARE: Burton Rothleder
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