Classical CD of the month: Schumann & Schubert Works for Cello and Piano

Name Schumann & Schubert Works for Cello and Piano
Composers Robert Schumann, Franz Schubert
Artist Antonio Meneses (cello), Gérard Wyss (pianoforte)
Label Avie

As so often with Avie, an almost entirely unhyped disc has emerged to knock everybody’s socks off. There are starrier cellists than Antonio Meneses and more glamourous pianists than Gérard Wyss, but they equal anyone in their essaying of these Schubert and Schumann chamber works.

Restrained but profound, the pair find the deep reflections on pain, on love, on life in these works. They find more angst in the Schumann, but there’s plenty of sad musing in the beginning of Schubert’s Arpeggione Sonata before they move to a sense of peace or resolution and even pushing through that to something resembling joy at its songful close.

As reviewer Duncan Druce says, Meneses is a true virtuoso: ‘He invites us into Schumann’s or Schubert’s inner world, urbanely drawing attention, by means of subtle emphasis or change of colour, to all the music’s incidental beauties.’

Of Wyss, Druce says: ‘His touch is unusually sensitive, with chords always beautifully balanced and his left hand gives exceptional vitality to the bass-lines.’

So persuasive are these musicians, so perfect the relationship between the instruments, that it is easy to forget that, of all the pieces here, only Schumann’s Fünf Stücke im Volkston was originally composed for cello.

The other works were issued in cello versions soon after composition. However, any worries about coherence or authenticity immediately fade in an album that is coherent, stylish and deeply satisfying.

James Inverne is editor of Gramophone

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