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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDH55064
Recording details: October 1988
Unknown, Unknown
Produced by Andrew Keener
Engineered by Keith Warren & Keith Wicks
Release date: July 1991
Total duration: 21 minutes 44 seconds

Cello Sonata No 1 in B flat major, Op 45
composer

Allegro vivace  [9'09]
Andante  [6'09]
Allegro assai  [6'26]

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
The Sonata in B flat major, Opus 45, was written around the beginning of 1838. In a letter of January 20th Mendelssohn mentions that it is finished, and also that he had been suffering from an ear infection which had left him temporarily deaf in one ear and fearful of the consequences. It was, nevertheless, a happy time: his wife Cecile was about to give birth to their first child, Karl Wolfgang Paul, who was born on February 7th. The child’s third name was in honour of Mendelssohn’s brother Paul, a financier and amateur cellist for whom this sonata, and the earlier Variations concertantes, were written.

The Mendelssohns were at this time living in Leipzig, where Felix was the conductor of the orchestral concerts in the Gewandhaus. His innovations in this series had a far-reaching effect on German musical life in general. He took over the conducting of symphonies, which had previously been directed ‘from the violin’ by the orchestral leader. He hired better players, and fought successfully to get their salaries raised. Equally important were his imaginative programmes. In the 1837/38 season, when this Sonata was written, he devised four ‘historical concerts’ which introduced the public to the music of Handel, Bach, Viotti, Cimarosa, Haydn, Naumann, Righini, Mozart, Salieri, Beethoven and the Abbé Vogler. Perhaps the large amount of music from the Classical era influenced the character of his own compositions, for the B flat Sonata is certainly Classical in form and mentality. Its textures are light and clear, its pacing superbly graded; only the piano writing, with the excited heartbeats common to both sonatas, shows the restless temperament of the nineteenth century.

from notes by Susan Tomes © 1991

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