Beethoven Sonatas for Piano and Cello … Daniel Müller-Schott & Angela Hewitt – Volume 1

0 of 5 stars

Sonata for Piano and Cello in F, Op.5/1
Sonata for Piano and Cello in G minor, Op.5/2
Sonata for Piano and Cello in A, Op.69

Daniel Müller-Schott (cello) & Angela Hewitt (piano)

Recorded 2-5 January 2008 in Jesus-Christus-Kirche, Berlin

Reviewed by: Ben Hogwood

Reviewed: November 2008
Duration: 78 minutes



Beethoven’s two Opus 5 sonatas for piano and cello are among the most revolutionary of his early works. At a time when the string quartet was the accepted form of gift for a patron, his present to cellist Jean-Pierre Dupont, teacher of King Friedrich Wilhelm II of Prussia, took the form of two highly developed sonatas. This was the first time that the cello, previously a lowly continuo instrument, had been promoted to anything near a solo capacity.

Therefore the need for equal protagonists in performances of these works is imperative, and in this recording Daniel Müller-Schott and Angela Hewitt are absolutely as one. Hewitt’s Fazioli piano brings a crisp sound to Beethoven’s writing, complemented by the warmth of Müller-Schott’s Matteo Goffriller cello of 1727. A broad, majestic statement of the F major Sonata’s introduction sets the tone, both players then sparking off each other a clear enjoyment of the fast section’s modulations.

Here lies the real spirit of discovery, with Beethoven’s forthright themes powering onwards – though there is always room for subtlety, too. Hewitt’s passagework, particularly in the tricky right-hand passages, is of outstanding clarity – and Müller-Schott finds a lovely legato in the slower writing. These are broadly conceived interpretations that give a real sense of stature to the music.

The A major Sonata, Opus 69, the longest work of the three here conversely seems more concisely written. The scherzo travels at quite a lick, yet the artists are able to spend time in contemplation as the Adagio unfolds. Despite its brevity, this movement feels like a real intense moment of repose.

Hyperion’s recording is near ideal, though it’s interesting to note a slight fluff from Müller-Schott as he brushes a ‘B’ along with the ‘A’ at the end of Opus 69’s first movement. The decision not to re-take this implies that the entire movement is unedited, which would explain its spontaneity and cumulative energy.

This is a wonderfully affirming release that is advertised as Volume 1. Thus the pair of sonatas, Opus 102, and no doubt the Variations, are eagerly awaited.

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