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Melodisch-contrapunktische Studien, Op 137

'Moscheles & Hummel: Cello Sonatas' (CDA67521)
Moscheles & Hummel: Cello Sonatas
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No 4: Andante con moto espressivo 'Well-tempered Klavier II Prelude No 7 in E flat major'
No 8: Allegro maestoso 'Well-tempered Klavier II Prelude No 6 in D minor'
No 9: Andante espressivo 'Well-tempered Klavier I Prelude No 4 in C sharp minor'

Melodisch-contrapunktische Studien, Op 137
Moscheles was something of a pioneer with his interest in earlier music, and in his concern to awaken a general interest in composers he thought unduly neglected. He included Bach and Handel in his London ‘historical soirées’ in 1837, even playing some Scarlatti on a 1771 Broadwood harpsichord. In 1864 he published a set of so-called ‘Melodisch-contrapunktische Studien’, making use of ten preludes from Bach’s Well-tempered Clavier and adding a cello obbligato. He cited Mendelssohn and Schumann as precedents, and would have had in mind the piano accompaniments they had added to Bach’s unaccompanied violin music and ‘whose golden gleam heightens their effect, so that I too dare to bestow a new character on the Preludes through my concertante part’. ‘I have attempted’, he added, ‘to give them all, through the melody, a modern colouring, and by contrapuntal means to bestow on them a concertante effect, and thereby to make these wonderful Preludes more accessible to laymen and to the wider public.’ His No 4 is taken from Bach’s Book II, No 7 in E flat (the original keys are retained). No 8 comes also from Book II, No 6 in D minor, and makes some use of imitation in the cello part before a singing melody takes over. No 9 is from Book I, No 4 in C sharp minor, and this time leads off with a noble cantabile in Moscheles’ most Romantic vein.

from notes by John Warrack © 2006

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