Cello Sonatas Edition

Album cover art for upc 5028421960128
Label: BRILLIANT CLASSICS
Catalog: BRI96012
Format: CD

VARIOUS

The earliest cellos emerged in Northern Italy during the 16th century, and this set begins here. It opens in Bologna where the first wire-wound strings were invented and where the pioneers of solo cello repertoire Domenico Gabrielli (1659–90) and his foremost pupil Giuseppe Maria Jacchini (1667–1727) lived and worked. Continuing our tour of Italy, we pass via Vivaldi in Venice, and Lanzetti in Naples. Throughout history, musicians have toured and joined pan-European ensembles, and Baroque-era Italian cellists introduced audiences across the continent to their new instrument – for example Boccherini, who was born in Lucca, moved abroad, joining the household of the Spanish Infante as resident composer and cellist. He wrote around 40 sonatas, and the selected works in this set are characteristic of his style, imbued with elegance and brilliance. Outside Italy, the role of the cello evolved further, and Beethoven’s contribution to the repertoire broke new ground in establishing the concept of a genuine duo sonata for cello and piano. During the Romantic era, Felix Mendelssohn (1809–47) wrote numerous works for cello and piano duo. His Op.45 was praised by Schumann and has an interesting cross-historical nature. Much like Beethoven’s cello sonatas, the centre stage is shared by both instruments. The piano part is modern in its virtuosity and relentless pace while the cello part has a Classical nature with balanced phrasing and a refined, cantabile melody line. Onto more modern works, Alfred Schnittke’s cello sonata is another highlight. Programmatic in nature, the piece sounds as though it should belong to a horror film score, and the opening features an arrhythmic piano bassline set against the frantic and swirling cello melody. Schnittke (1934–98) was initially considered to be the natural heir of Shostakovich, but he goes further than his predecessor and pioneered polystylistic techniques.

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