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Cello Sonata No 2 in D major, Op 58
CKD370: transcribed by Daniel-Ben Pienaar & Jonathan Freeman-Attwood

'Mendelssohn: Complete music for cello and piano' (CDH55064)
Mendelssohn: Complete music for cello and piano
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'Romantic Trumpet Sonatas' (CKD370)
Romantic Trumpet Sonatas
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Movement 1: Allegro assai vivace
Movement 2: Allegretto scherzando
Movement 3: Adagio
Movement 4: Molto allegro e vivace

Cello Sonata No 2 in D major, Op 58
The D major Sonata, Opus 58, is a more potent, passionate work than the earlier sonata. It could not be described as Classical in spirit, though it uses traditional forms; its mood is exultant in the outer movements and the torrents of arpeggios in the piano part almost overwhelm the singing lines of the cello. The second movement is a lightfooted intermezzo of the type that Mendelssohn excelled in; the slow movement, perhaps inspired by Bach chorale and recitative, is a noble Adagio whose rolling piano chords support a touching soliloquy from the cello. Altogether it is a more personal, and thus more Romantic statement than the B flat Sonata.

It was written in the first half of 1843 when Mendelssohn’s life was full of demanding projects, some in the process of failing, others just coming into being. He had accepted from King Wilhelm an invitation to direct the Music Division of the new Academy of Arts in Berlin, an institution designed to secure Berlin’s place as Germany’s cultural centre. If it had succeeded as originally planned, Mendelssohn would have become the most powerful musician in the land, as his appointment made him director of the Music Faculty, composer for the Royal Theatre, director of the Royal Orchestra, and conductor and organiser of the Cathedral Choir. In 1841 the Mendelssohns moved to Berlin where Felix began to outline his ideas to the king, only to find himself thwarted by a mass of court beaurocracy and a monarch who, having initiated the idea, was losing interest in its practical realisation. After two frustrating years in Berlin, Mendelssohn persuaded the king to release him from many of his duties, and he moved back to Leipzig to undertake a project dear to his heart for some years – the creation of a Music Conservatory, which opened in the Gewandhaus in April 1843. Mendelssohn himself taught piano, ensemble and composition; Schumann taught piano and composition, and after a while they were joined on the staff by Clara Schumann, the pianist/composer Moscheles, and the Danish composer Niels Gade. In the midst of that year’s domestic upheaval, responsibilities and publicity, Mendelssohn somehow found time to write some of his best music: the Variations Sérieuses for piano, the incidental music for A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and the D major cello Sonata. The New Grove Dictionary says of it that the Sonata ‘communicates a concentrated impression of the dramatic tensions and contradictions through which he lived during those years’.

from notes by Susan Tomes © 1991

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