David's Review Corner
, August 2019
The second release in the complete works for cello from the German-born Ferdinand Ries, the favourite piano pupil and long-standing friend of Beethoven.
As a composer he was prolific, with almost two hundred published works, and a hundred discovered after his death, yet it was only on his move to London, at the age of twenty-nine, that he found an adoring public for his concerts and a ready market for his compositions. His music for cello and piano was limited, and this release will probably be the penultimate one, and much of that was written while still young and before his arrival in England. The earliest—the unpublished sonata in C minor—completed when he was fifteen, was an extended score in three movements. Throughout it has charming melodic invention that reminds one of Mozart, the part given to the piano more important than the decorative cello, reflecting that the composer as a pianist, the rondo-style finale a particular joy. Next in order of composition (1812) came the Three Russian Airs with Variations for cello or violin and piano, pleasing for occasional listening, a comment I would append to the other Russian inspired work, and equally to the Trio where I listen in anticipation for anything memorable from the flute. Finally the Cello Sonata in F major dating from 1823 and originally for horn and piano, but with the option of a cello. In three short movements, it gives a well balanced participation to the cello, and at times sounding quite dramatic. In sum I found the disc much less interesting than the first volume (8.573726), though I would again compliment the Austrian pianist, Stefan Stroissnig, for his clarity when faced with an over-abundance of notes, with Martin Rummel the elegant cellist. Pleasing sound quality. © 2019 David’s Review Corner