Brahms: Cello Sonatas – No 1 in E minor, Op 38; No 2 in F major, Op 99; Schumann: Fünf Stücke im Volkston, Op 102

Reviewed on Tue 18 Jul, 2017

Here the impression is very much a meeting of equals, with any problems of balance effortlessly solved. The results are indeed memorably graceful and superbly transparent.

Uncommonly sensitive and thoughtful music-making from these accomplished performers. Playing on a gut-stringed replica of a 1695 instrument by Matteo Goffriller, cellist Robin Michael (principal with the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique and Les Siècles) produces a wonderfully mellow and songful sound, and he sparks an infectiously communicative and raptly instinctive rapport with that marvellously supportive and articulate pianist Daniel Tong (whose 1897 Blüthner, by the way, is believed to have been used by the composer himself). In both of the Brahms sonatas the cellist is often swamped by the piano, whereas here the impression is very much a meeting of equals, with any customary problems of balance effortlessly solved. The results are indeed memorably graceful and superbly transparent. Schumann's Op 102 forms a toothsome and touching sequence between the two main offerings. As we have come to expect from this label, both the production and presentation are exemplary. A nourishing release that can be very warmly recommended.
–Andrew Achenbach