With much music-making taking place in the Mendelssohn household, young Felix was exposed to a broad diversity of styles, composers, and instruments. Although he was clearly a pianist at heart, his brother Paul somewhat grudgingly played the piano. This was to be Felix's first introduction to the instrument and was sufficient to spawn some much beloved compositions. The first of these was the Op. 17 Variations concertantes and later the Op. 45 B flat major Sonata. By 1841, Mendelssohn began composing for the cello again, but this time not for his brother. The result was the brilliant, sunny D major Sonata, a work filled with Mendelssohn's trademark mercurial writing. Performing these works alongside some Piatti transcriptions of selected Songs Without Words is Lithuanian-born cellist David Geringas and pianist Ian Fountain. The disc opens with the D major Sonata, a curious choice as this piece seems to have the most energetic, uplifting ending and would seem better suited for the album's finale. Regardless of program order, Geringas and Fountain form a splendid duo that yields some dazzling, vigorous, detail-oriented playing. Balance between the two instruments is ideal and the two engage in a virtual game of cat and mouse racing about trying to catch each other through the brisk tempos. Geringas' playing is nicely in tune and his tone is focused and projecting. He easily changes gears to the more lyrical Songs Without Words and with a lush, beautifully connected legato sound.
AllMusic Review by Mike D. Brownell
|Sonata No. 2 in D major, Op. 58|
|Sonata No. 1 in B flat major, Op. 45|