Mendelssohn Cello Sonatas
Mischa Maisky‚ whose playing always shows intense involvement‚ makes a passionate advocate for the Mendelssohn sonatas. With young Venezuelanborn Sergio Tiempo‚ a pianist able to combine virtuoso brilliance with a flair for pointing the expression of each phrase‚ Maisky gives notably urgent‚ dramatic readings of both works.
The Second Sonata’s first Allegro bursts in with an enormous energy maintained whenever Mendelssohn’s characteristic vigour and emotional intensity demand it. Yet the two more lightweight sonata movements‚ Op 45’s Andante and the Allegretto scherzando in Op 58‚ achieve real delicacy and elegance. Maisky’s highlycharged playing of the recitative in Op 58’s Adagio seems entirely appropriate to the sense of this wildly uninhibited music‚ despite one’s awareness that no 1840s cellist would have used vibrato like this.
Indeed‚ I find myself torn between admiration for Maisky’s wonderfully vocal way of modulating his tone‚ so that in the four song arrangements there’s no feeling that the lack of words or of the human voice is any sort of deprivation‚ (the beautiful ‘Die Liebende schreibt’ is especially haunting)‚ and a longing‚ in some pieces‚ for a simpler style of performance. The two Song without Words arrangements‚ in particular‚ introduce continual hesitations that impede the music’s natural flow. And‚ in all the short lyrical pieces‚ Maisky’s alluring‚ but rather flowery tone creates a softfocus effect that can become cloying. But if I needed convincing of Mendelssohn’s stature and range‚ this disc would certainly do the trick.