Following her much-acclaimed release for Vivat of Bach’s Six Cello Suites (VIVAT 107), the distinguished Dutch cellist Viola de Hoog turns her attention to two more masterworks, Mendelssohn’s cello sonatas.
With a lifetime spent performing chamber and solo repertoire on period instruments, de Hoog is an ideal, passionate exponent for this music, bringing performances that encapsulate the composer’s sense of refined virtuosity. Effervescent in their outer movements, lyrical and whimsical in their inner sections, Mendelssohn intended his cello sonatas to show complete parity between piano and cello.
De Hoog is partnered by the astonishing Armenian pianist Mikayel Balyan, who plays an 1847 piano made by Mendelssohn’s favourite maker, Érard. The combination of this fine instrument with Balyan’s sensitive musicianship brings a rainbow of sonorities and colours. Mendelssohn’s virtuosic piano writing, with its joyous cascades of notes, has rarely been heard with such clarity on an original instrument.
The release also includes the first recording on period instruments of Mendelssohn’s own arrangement of his famous Trio in D minor, Op.49, re-scored for flute, cello and piano: de Hoog and Balyan are joined by eminent Dutch flautist Marten Root. One of the staples of nineteenth-century chamber music is heard in completely new colours.
The recording was made in the historic church in Bunnik, Netherlands, used for dozens of period instrument recordings over the years by engineer Adriaan Verstijnen, who beautifully captures the varied colours of this most exquisite of music.
Extensive presentation includes 44 page booklet with authoritative liner note in four languages by Mendelssohn expert Prof R Larry Todd, together with five pages of artist photographs.