MusicWeb International reviews more classical CDs and DVDs than any other site

53,656 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...




selling Internationaly

Founder: Len Mullenger             Editor in Chief: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here

Some items
to consider

£11 post-free anywhere
Normal service resumed


100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas


Recordings of the Month


Che fai tù? - Villanelles

Cyrillus KREEK
The suspended harp of Babel

violin concertos - Ibragimova

Peteris VASKS
Viola concerto - Maxim Rysanov

The Complete Lotte Schöne


Beethoven String Quartets

Produzioni Armoniche

Seven Symphonic Poems

Shostakovich VC1 Baiba Skride
Tchaikovsky Symph 5 Nelsons

Vivaldi Violin Concertos



REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers


Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897)
Sonata for Cello and Piano No. 1 in E minor, Op. 38 [24:10]
Sonata for Cello and Piano No. 2 in F major, Op. 99 [24:19]
Annlies Schmidt de Neveu (cello)
Rolf Knieper (piano)
rec. 1960

The German cellist Annlies Schmidt de Neveu was born in 1915. Emanuel Feuermann was her teacher. As well as being a cellist in several German orchestras, she also forged a limited solo career, giving the German premiere of Jean Françaix’ Fantasie with the Berlin Philharmonic under Sergiu Celibidache, and the French premiere of the Samuel Barber Cello Concerto. From 1968 to 1980 she taught at the Karlsruhe Music Academy, and was a member of the Karlsruhe Knieper Trio. She died at the age of ninety-five in 2010.

I recently reviewed her cycle of the Bach Cello Suites, set down in 1957-8 for Ducretet Thomson (300C043/5) and also issued by Forgotten Records (FR118/9 - review). There I expressed some reservations regarding her playing which, at times, seemed devoid of expression, and relentlessly metronomic. I was pleased to be given the opportunity to review this recent release of the two Brahms Cello Sonatas which she recorded in 1960 with the pianist Rolf Knieper, a pupil of Eduard Erdmann, Edwin Fischer and Claudio Arrau.

Some of the problems which beset the Bach cycle are evident here. Compared with other cellists who have recorded this pair of sonatas, du Pré/Barenboim, Fournier/Backhaus and Tortelier/Engel, just three of my favourites that spring to mind, Schmidt de Neveu has a far more limited expressive range, and lacks the former players' striking musical personalities. She draws a thin, lean tone which is spare in texture and has a tendency towards tautness. Her sound is impersonal and monochrome, lacking tonal opulence. On the plus side, her bowing technique is a match for anyone, and intonation is spot-on.

Of the two sonatas, the No. 2 in F major fares better. The Op. 38 lacks involvement, and I felt that the players were reading it through cold. They seem more at home and familiar with Op. 99, and imbue it with greater fire and passion. It’s paced well, with dynamics and phrasing judiciously chosen. Both sonatas are in more than acceptable sound, and the balance between the two instrumentalists does not favour one over the other.

These superb transfers and re-masterings are taken from a French BAM LP (LD 063). Booklet notes are provided, which offer biographical portraits of the artists. It is commendable that Forgotten Records are helping raise the profile of this long-forgotten cellist but, personally, Annlies Schmidt de Neveu’s playing doesn’t really float my boat.
Stephen Greenbank



Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels

Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger