Mendelssohn: Works for piano & cello on period instruments

Guadalupe López Íñiguez cello, Olga Andryushchenko Erard piano
op. 17, 45/1, 58/2, 109 & Albumblatt in B minor (1835)

Fresh from playing in a performance of Mendelssohn’s Overture Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage, I found myself just in the mood for this CD of all his music for cello and piano. Two sonatas, a set of variations, an Albumblatt and a Romance sans Paroles later and I had enjoyed the full range of this composer’s remarkable musical imagination. From her programme note, it is clear that Spanish cellist Guadalupe López Íñiguez loves Mendelssohn’s music, and perhaps even the man himself, and in that she is in complete agreement with my own tastes. Her 1725 Claude Pieray cello has been set up in the manner of early 19th-century instruments and fairly sings Mendelssohn’s lovely lyrical lines, while Olga Andryushchenko’s virtuosic and passionate playing on her 1862 Erard piano is also wonderfully expressive. I wonder if a slight fluffiness about the piano tone is more to do with microphone placement than the tone of the instrument, as the Erard pianos of this period which I have heard live all have a lovely bright edge. The music here ranges from throughout its composer’s short life, the Variations dating from his 20th year and the Romance from two years before he died. The energy and technical assurance of all of this music is a testimony to the genius of its remarkable composer.  

D. James Ross

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