Hyperion Records

Sonata for cello and piano, Op 66

'Koechlin & Pierné: Cello Sonatas' (CDA66979)
Koechlin & Pierné: Cello Sonatas
Movement 1: Très modéré
Movement 2: Andante quasi adagio
Movement 3: Final: Allegro non troppo

Sonata for cello and piano, Op 66
After playing the last note of our first performance of Koechlin’s Cello Sonata, I turned to Bengt and saw him look as fulfilled as I felt. I’ll never forget it, because the feeling was very special. A kind of spiritual fulfilment, like when having encountered something totally honest.

The Cello Sonata, Op 66, was written in 1917, during horrible war. It stems from a busy chamber music period, one of 9 duo sonatas that are described by the composer as a ‘constant light’ or ‘gradual illumination’. The first movement is indeed light, pastoral and undisturbed. It’s followed by another tranquil, nocturnal movement, but with a very complex piano part, involving several voices spread out over three staves, independent of the cello line as well as of tonality. He wrote to De Falla in 1923 that the finale would ‘doubtless make him think of various works by young French composers like Milhaud’. Bengt and I thought of Charles Ives, and we thought the beginning resembled Gregorian chant. It uses the softest nuance I’ve ever come across in a cello sonata: pppp ! Barlines appear, as in the previous movements, when necessary for the phrase, and a wish for absolute evenness in sound and lack of expression is repeated. The latter becomes a question of discipline for the performers, since the places where this is asked for are so beautiful!

from notes by Mats Lidström © 1998

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