Lester, Tomes: Mendelssohn - Complete Music for Cello (APE)
Lester, Tomes: Mendelssohn – Complete Music for Cello (APE)

Performer: Richard Lester, Susan Tomes
Composer: Felix Mendelssohn
Audio CD
SPARS Code: DDD
Number of Discs: 1
Format: FLAC (image+cue)
Label: Hyperion
Size: 277 MB
Recovery: +3%
Scan: yes

Sonata for cello & piano No. 1 in B flat major, Op. 45
Composed by Felix Mendelssohn
with Richard Lester, Susan Tomes

Variations concertantes, for cello & piano in D major, Op. 17
Composed by Felix Mendelssohn
with Richard Lester, Susan Tomes

Sonata for cello & piano No. 2 in D major, Op. 58
Composed by Felix Mendelssohn
with Richard Lester, Susan Tomes

Assai Tranquillo for cello & piano in B minor
Composed by Felix Mendelssohn
with Richard Lester, Susan Tomes

Song without Words for cello & piano in D major, Op. 109
Composed by Felix Mendelssohn
with Richard Lester, Susan Tomes

01. Son No.1 in B flat Op.45: Allegro Vivace
02. Son No.1 in B flat Op.45: Andante
03. Son No.1 in B flat Op.45: Allegro Assai
04. Vars Concertantes Op.17
05. Son No.2 in D Op.58: Allegro Assai Vivace
06. Op.17 Son No 2 in D Op.58: Allegretto Scherzando
07. Op.17 Son No 2 in D Op.58: Adagio
08. Op.17 Son No 2 in D Op.58: Molto Allegro E Vivace
09. Assai Tranquillo (First Recording)
10. Lied Ohne Worte Op.109

a beautiful recording

The main pieces here are the two sonatas for cello and piano, each between 20 and 25 minutes, and they are played beautifully by Susan Tomes and Richard Lester, long co-workers in Domus and the Florestan Trio. They are perfectly in synch here, and the Hyperion sound (originally 1988) does them justice. These pieces are much less knotty and much more immediately appealing than Brahms’s sonatas, and it seems as if the first at least might be playable by gifted amateurs. It seems to belong to the realm of domestic music and not strive for big concert-hall effects. That said, it is lovely and tuneful, and the thematic material in each movement is developed in a way that never takes us too far from pleasing melody. The second sonata contains more surprises — it has four movements (the first has three) and starting with the allegretto scherzando second, there are surprises in every movement. The trio of the second is one of Mendelssohn’s loveliest inspirations, and it comes as a surprise after the scherzando opening. This is the movement to sample — it seems gorgeous to me. The Adagio third movement is very brief, rhapsodic, and almost improvisitory in its feeling. Tomes produces lovely harp-like effects here. The finale starts spryly but then develops in some unexpected directions that require considerable skill from the players. It’s a delight too. The shorter pieces that make up the rest of Mendelssohn’s complete output for these instruments are well-played too. This is a very appealing recording.

Listening to Mendelssohn’s piano & cello works: priceless.

Joao Gilberto once sang: “he who doesn’t like the samba is either sick in the head or lame in the foot.” Similarly, he who doesn’t like Felix Mendelssohn is cold in the heart and lacking in soul. Or, perhaps, they haven’t heard his music played correctly. There is some strange rumour going around – I think it was started by Wagner – that in order to play Mendelssohn’s music, all you need is a light touch and rapid finger work. Susan Tomes and Richard Lester successfully prove how unjust a statement this is. The poetry of Mendelssohn’s writing springs forth from their instruments with an unmatched beauty. They are well aware of Mendelssohn’s precision, his deep regard for the classical masters; and his ideas are never lost to tastelss rubato or false expression. Susan Tomes always surprises me with her playing. For some reason I just never expect her to be as good as she is. A true musician and virtuoso! And, Richard Lester…well, never before have I heard such a pure, warm tone. His playing is magnificant. In the same way that Mendelssohn’s compositions always seem to place a kind hand on your shoulder, Richard Lester’s playing fills the spirit with happiness and calm. His interpretation of the “Lied Ohne Worte” is no interpretation at all – it was recorded straight from Mendelssohn’s brain I’m sure! And, his cello is over 250 years old!
These five pieces are some of the greatest compositions in existence. I feel as though I’ve struck gold each time I put the C.D. in the player. But, no matter how precious that metal may be to some, it could never compare with the emotions one receives from Mendelssohn through his compositions (when played by great musicians). Who can put a price on such an experience (which, if the designers of C.D.s are correct, will last forever)?
Short note on technical quality: brilliant, well balanced, sounds good on a variety of speakers.

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