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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDA67521
Recording details: February 2005
Wathen Hall, St Paul's School, Barnes, United Kingdom
Produced by Andrew Keener
Engineered by Simon Eadon
Release date: April 2006
Total duration: 23 minutes 7 seconds

'With such strong, sympathetic playing and clear, carefully-balanced recordings this Hyperion disc is a must for adventurous cellists and listeners alike' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Following its delightful versions of his piano concerti, led from the keyboard by Howard Shelley, Hyperion continues its championship of Moscheles's work with the elegant cello sonata dedicated to Schumann. He is often bracketed with his contemporary Hummel, whose own cello sonata is a classic of spacious romanticism. Both are lovingly played by the Czech cellist Jiří Bárta' (The Observer)

'Bárta and Milne strike just the right note: these aren't bravura pieces, and they play them as would two friends convivially making music in the drawing-room and deriving unemphatic pleasure from the experience … a delightfully demure, teasingly tuneful release, which has brought me much pleasure' (International Record Review)

'The lion's share of the material falls to Hamish Milne, whose liquid-clear articulation allows the music to flow unimpeded by any mannerisms whatsoever. For his part cellist Jiří Bárta provides an equally virtuosic and eloquent rendition—taste and idiomatic faithfulness being the key criteria' (The Strad)

'The works, intimate in tone and refined in sentiment, make extremely congenial discmates' (Fanfare, USA)

'La sonorité très chaude du violoncelle et l'articulation parfaite du piano conviennent parfaitement au caractère de ces œuvres … il sera difficile de faire mieux dans ce répertoire' (Classica, France)

'Je ne peux … priver ce CD merveilleux du 10/10 qui lui sied si bien, car cette musique qui n'ambitionne pas d'égaler les Sonates de Beethoven et de Brahms, est une pure merveille' (ClassicsTodayFrance.com)

Cello Sonata in A major, Op 104
composer
January 1824

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Hummel’s Cello Sonata in A major, Op 104, dates from the final phase of his career, when, despite continuing a busy touring career that took him as far afield as France, Poland and Russia, he had in 1819 settled into a comfortable life as Kapellmeister in Weimar. Here he and the aged Goethe were among the reasons drawing visitors to the town, over which presided the Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna, daughter of the Tsar of Russia and one of Hummel’s composition pupils. In January 1824 he wrote and dedicated to her what the first edition described as his ‘Grande sonate pour Pianoforte et Violoncelle’. The qualifications to the opening Allegro—amabile e grazioso—could be said to describe the whole work. It is less a piece for virtuosos than for musical companions, amiable and graceful, with the opening cello song decorated by the piano. In the charming Romanze, the first word goes to the piano, with a melody later given gently varied treatment and a more assertive middle section. As with the final Rondo, there is an element of Hummel looking back over his long career, past his virtuoso achievements, to his classical origins; but the cheerful, extrovert closing pages serve as a reminder that Hummel had indeed been one of the most exuberant and impressive of pianists.

from notes by John Warrack © 2006

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