Mendelssohn wrote for the duo combination of cello and piano at different points throughout his short lifespan. Composed in 1828, the Variations Concertantes is the first such example, while the last contribution to the genre is the Romance sans paroles, written in 1845 near the end of the composer's life. Sandwiched between these notable smaller works are the two sonatas, each cornerstones of the cello literature. Both sonatas are replete with Mendelssohn's trademark effervescence and quicksilver interspersed with the austere beauty of the slow movements. This Avi album features cellist Julian Steckel and pianist Paul Rivinius in a brilliant performance of these works. Steckel's sound is notable for its combination of power, clarity, and transparency. He nimbly darts around his instrument in the ebullient fast movements while still making sure that each and every note is clearly audible. He changes gears nicely, producing an intense, deep, throaty sound for the more song-like moments, particularly the Adagio of the Op. 58 Sonata. Rivinius engages in a convincing dialogue with Steckel throughout the performance producing a true sense of collaboration of equals. Avi's sound quality and balance is pristine. Nota bene: the tracklisting on the back of the album is incorrect, but the one included with the liner notes is accurate.
AllMusic Review by Mike D. Brownell
|Sonata for cello & piano No. 1 in B flat major, Op. 45|
|Sonata for cello & piano No. 2 in D major, Op. 58|