Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
Cello Sonata in C major Op.102 No.1 (1815) [15:47]
Cello Sonata in D major Op.102 No.2 (1815) [22:04]
Variations in G major on ‘See the conqu’ring hero comes’ from Handel’s Judas Maccabaeus WoO45 (1796) [12:54]
Variations in F major on ‘Ein Mädchen oder Weibchen’ from Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte Op.66 (1798) [10:18]
Variations in E flat major on ‘Bei Männern, welche Liebe fühlen’ from Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte WoO46 (1801) [10:00]
Daniel Muller-Schött (cello)
Angela Hewitt (piano)
rec. March 2009, Jesus-Christus-Kirche, Berlin
HYPERION CDA 67755 [71:03]

The second and final volume of Daniel Muller-Schött and Angela Hewitt’s survey of Beethoven’s works for cello and piano is just as convincing and attractive as the first. It leavens the two 1815 sonatas with the three sets of variations, two from Mozart’s works and one from Handel. As before, alertness as to rhythmic accents, a fine sense of ensemble balance, proportionate avuncularity - in the Handel variations – and technical excellence are some of the markers of these performances.

To take the variations first, ‘See the conqu’ring hero comes’ is treated to a reading of crispness, pathos and elegant panache. Angela Hewitt bears her more-than-fair-share of the technical burdens here, and acquits herself with characteristic elegance and control. Muller-Schött meanwhile shows one something of his tonal breadth and ability to brings phrases to life. A couple of years later Beethoven wrote the Variations in F major on ‘Ein Mädchen oder Weibchen’. All the quirks and modulations that enable both players to bring so zesty and yet, too, on occasion, so introspective a stance, are subtly underlined. Finally we have the ‘Bei Männern, welche Liebe fühlen’ variations, where the occasional inequalities in ensemble inherent in the Handel variations have been replaced by ensemble equality and unanimity. The Muller-Schött-Hewitt duo is especially good at not flooding tone to the detriment of clarity. Even when Beethoven turns somewhat gnomic, or indulges some minor-key jaunts, we are in the safest of hands.

The sonatas are similarly attractively performed. Once again there is a just balance between the two, and Hewitt is careful about pedalling – try the opening Andante of the C major for example. Refinement and clarity are two elements that explain the duo’s success here. So too is the affectionate moulding of phrases in the slow movement of the companion work in D major, one that never becomes overdone. Articulation is thoughtful, legato sustained, ensemble solid.

One might have worried in advance that the acoustic in the Jesus-Christus-Kirche, Berlin, might be too swampy, but apt engineering has proven that this is not so.

Jonathan Woolf

Convincing and attractive.