Franz Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809)
Cello Concerto No. 1 in C, Hob. VIIb:1 [25:11]
Cello Concerto No. 2 in D, Hob. VIIb:2 [25:03]
Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
Romance No. 1 in G, op. 40 (arr. cello and orchestra, Müller-Schott) [6:04]
Romance No. 2 in F, op. 50 (arr. cello and orchestra, Müller-Schott) [7:56]
Daniel Müller-Schott (cello)
Australian Chamber Orchestra/Richard Tognetti
rec. 2001, Nimbus Concert Hall, Monmouthshire, UK.
Reviewed as lossless download from eclassical
No booklet supplied
ORFEO C080031A [64:14]

Daniel Müller-Schott (see interview) is one of the most highly regarded cellists of his generation – he was born in 1976 – and has numerous recordings under his belt, both in the standard repertoire, such as the Beethoven sonatas with Angela Hewitt on Hyperion (review of Volume 1), and the lesser known, for example, the Raff concertos on Tudor (review). He recorded the Mozart trios with Anne-Sophie Mutter and André Previn (review). The Australian Chamber Orchestra under Richard Tognetti is simply one of the finest orchestras of its size.

The Haydn performances are quite magnificent: quicksilver, playful, but always elegant. Müller-Schott’s produces a beautiful sound from his 1740 Montagnana cello, loaned to him by Steven Isserlis. I got to know these works through the Jacqueline du Pré EMI Classics recordings, which are still wonderfully enjoyable in their overly-Romanticised approach. However, in capturing what I would like to believe is the true spirit of Haydn, the Müller-Schott performances go to the top of my list.

I would like to report that the two Beethoven romances, arranged for cello by Müller-Schott, are equally successful, but I can’t. No qualms about the playing, but the cello just doesn’t capture the lilting, rhapsodic melodies as does the violin. The First, with much of the solo part in the lower registers, is frankly dull. The Second is better, but not sufficiently so to make me want to return. Perhaps, a concerto from a lesser known Haydn contemporary might have proven a better disc filler, as Wendy Warner did with her Cédille recording, including one by Josef Mysliveček (review).

The recording quality is quite stunning: rich and detailed, the cello standing out from the orchestra, but not artificially so. The booklet was not supplied by eclassical – a black mark – but I did manage to locate it in the Naxos Music Library.

This appeared in the last month or so in the “new” releases list on eclassical, and I assumed that it was indeed a new release. When I came to write this review, and looked for the recording details to include in the header, I found that it was made in 2001, and released in 2003. It wasn’t reviewed back then in these pages, and since the Haydn performances are so outstanding, I don’t have any qualms in submitting it for publishing now.

The Haydn concertos are as good as you will find but the Beethoven experiment didn’t work.

David Barker

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