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Cello Sonatas 1-4 / Three Suites for Solo Cello Import


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Audio CD, Import, March 11, 2008
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Product Details

  • Performer: Markus Becker, Alban Gerhardt
  • Composer: Max Reger
  • Audio CD (March 11, 2008)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Hyperion UK
  • ASIN: B0012Y1HIC
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #475,654 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. Sonata for cello & piano No. 1 in F minor, Op. 5: Allegro maestoso ma appassionato
2. Sonata for cello & piano No. 1 in F minor, Op. 5: Allegro (un poco scherzando)
3. Suite for cello in G major, Op. 131c/1: Adagio
4. Suite for cello in G major, Op. 131c/1: Fuge: Allegro
5. Sonata for cello & piano No. 2 in G minor, Op. 28: Agitato
6. Sonata for cello & piano No. 2 in G minor, Op. 28: Prestissimo assai
7. Sonata for cello & piano No. 2 in G minor, Op. 28: Intermezzo: Poco sostenuto (Quasi adagio)
8. Sonata for cello & piano No. 2 in G minor, Op. 28: Allegretto con grazia (Quasi allegro)
9. Suite for cello in D minor, Op. 131c/2: Gavotte: Allegretto
10. Suite for cello in D minor, Op. 131c/2: Largo
See all 11 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Sonata for cello & piano No. 3 in F major, Op. 78: Allegro con brio
2. Sonata for cello & piano No. 3 in F major, Op. 78: Vivacissimo
3. Sonata for cello & piano No. 3 in F major, Op. 78: Andante con variazioni
4. Sonata for cello & piano No. 3 in F major, Op. 78: Allegro vivace
5. Suite for cello in A minor, Op. 131c/3: Scherzo: Vivace
6. Suite for cello in A minor, Op. 131c/3: Andante con variazioni
7. Sonata for cello & piano No. 4 in A minor, Op. 116: Allegro moderato
8. Sonata for cello & piano No. 4 in A minor, Op. 116: Presto
9. Sonata for cello & piano No. 4 in A minor, Op. 116: Largo
10. Sonata for cello & piano No. 4 in A minor, Op. 116: Allegretto con grazia

Editorial Reviews

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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By B.E.F. on March 12, 2008
Format: Audio CD
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While Sebastain Bach wrote three Cello Sonatas, it was Beethoven's five which really brought the genre into the Romantic/post-Romantic era. Brahms constructed two, and Strauss added an early one contemporaneously with Brahms (1883); Bruckner and Mahler, nix.

So it was Reger who really assumed the mantel of Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms, bringing the genre of Cello Sonata into Modernism (at least in Germanic lands) eventually passing the torch to Hindemith. (Some French and Russian artists also produced works in the form.)

While similar to the genre of Violin Sonata, the Cello Sonata presents its own difficulties due to the tessitura of the larger stringed instrument: it can sound screechy in its top register and murky in its lower; moreover, the voice of the cello is easily lost within the timbre of the piano, so the form presents more challenges of balance and clarity to the composer. Reger apparently enjoyed the callenge and wrote four major Cello Sonatas which span his career.

These excellent and highly refined chamber works feature Reger's calling-card characteristics: (I) bold harmonic thinking; (II) liveliness; (III) formidable technical finish; (IV) quirky humour; (V) contrapuntal complexity; and (VI) elegant melodic design.

Reger employs some his favourite Italianate movement descriptions: maestoso ma appassionato; gran affetto; con brio; agitato; energico; con gran espressione, etc.

The works (like all Reger's chamber works) are generally book-ended with Allegro-type movements which bracket inner movements of extreme tempi--highly pressurized Prestississimos and Vivacissimos are grotesquely and arabesquely contrasted with below pulse-rate Largos.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Old Hickory on June 1, 2008
Format: Audio CD
I agree with the Riviera's scholarly and informative review. However, he neglects to mention that the Sonatas are separated by three suites for solo cello (Op. 131, Nos. 1-3), which are similarly delightful. Altogether an outstanding two-disc set, which I have listened to many times. Expensive, but as is usual with Hyperion, the production values and the booklet are first-rate, as is the musicianship.
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Format: Audio CD
A few years ago, I bought a cpo disc of Reger's Violin Sonatas, with Ulf Wallin and Ronald Pontinen and found them so interesting to listen to that I bought a couple of more discs in the series. It was on the strength of my pleasure in these discs that I bought the Cello Sonatas and Suites reviewed here, and I haven't been disappointed. I'm at a bit of a loss to explain the attraction, however, because this isn't glamorous music or even particularly memorable to a relatively unsophisticated (musically) listener like myself. It's just that in the experience of listening, it seems well-wrought and holds the attention easily. It also seems fairly conservative music for one born in 1873 -- there's more Brahms than Liszt or Wagner here, especially in the solo Cello Suites, which sound like an homage to Bach. Alban Gerhardt plays them beautifully here -- they seem to require a soloist of considerable skill, and they fall on the ear very gratefully. Over the two discs here, the Suites are alternated with the Cello Sonatas, in which Gerhardt is joined by the pianist Markus Becker. If anything, these seem to require even more of the soloists, but the effect isn't at all flashy. In fact, it's quite cool, as if the basically low-key romantic quality of the thematic material is tempered by a classical sense of form. The temperature doesn't rise too much, but the developments are so inventive and fresh, that the ear doesn't tire. Hyperion's sound is, as usual, very good, and the soloists are excellent. I wish I could be more precise about the musical qualities of these likeable pieces -- which notwithstanding their coolness don't come across as lightweight or, in the manner of Dvorak, as having a national or ethnic character. It's just well-made stuff by a serious composer. A Hyperion double-disc, new, isn't cheap, so maybe sample before you buy.
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