'Daniel Muller-Schott: warmth and suavity'
'Vivid Bach playing that gives nothing but a glow of pleasure'
From the moment the cello starts its suave tread over the piano's gently rising bass and sustained right-hand trill at the beginning of the G major Sonata, you know this is going to be a disc to sit back and enjoy. Daniel Muller-Schott and Angela Hewitt may have substituted modern instruments for the viola da gamba and harpsichord Bach had in mind but nothing in this superb music's original character has been lost – this is as clear-textured and as vividly articulated a performance as you could hope to hear. Indeed, it has gained much by the sheer musical feeling and intelligence that these two players have put into it, aided by extra warmth from Muller-Schott's cello (achieved without resorting to excessive vibrato) and from the delicate dynamic subtleties of Hewitt's piano-playing.
There are some memorable moments here: the rapt mystery of the upward arpeggios in the third movement of the G major, the exquisitely intertwined lyricism of the D major's first movement, the stealthy fugal build-up in the finale of the G minor. Architecturally, too, they consistently get things just right – just listen to the way the main themes' returns are handled in the last movements of the G major and D major (the latter a triumphant outcome of Bach's thrilling quasi-cadenza passage). With a perfect balance between instruments, this is playing which gives nothing but a glow of pleasure, that not even what sounds like some weary tuning at the piano's top can dispel.
All Bach gamba sonata discs need a filler, and the choice here is a sonata by CPE Bach, rather more romantically drawn by Muller-Schott and with a continuo accompaniment less well suited to the piano. But then this disc is worth your money for the JS alone.
Lindsay Kemp, gramophone November 2007
lf the case must still be made for the performance of Baroque music ort the wrong instruments, this CD will suffice. Daniel Müller-Schott plays Bach’s gamba sonatas on the cello (albeit a wonderfully sonorous Matteo Gofriller instrument from 1727) with Angela Hewitt on the piano. Both have impeccable credentials:
Müller-Schott has a well-received CD of the Bach solo suites on the Glissando label under his belt, and Hewitt has made a speciality of Bach’s keyboard music. They bring to these works a profound feeling for the ebb and flow of Bach’s lines, the shapes of his long-extended melodies, and the rigour and expressiveness of his counterpoint Most of this music is not for solo instrument and continuo, but is in three parts, with an obbligato right-hand line for the keyboard. Müller-Schott has both to blend and contrast with the piano, which he does with unerring skill and sensitivity, interweaving with Hewitt’s playing in a three-way conversation of free-flowing subtlety.
There is energy here, and declamation, but it is the sheer empathy in this playing, the communication between players and outward to the listener, that is most striking. At times, as in the third movement of the G major Sonata, the players conjure a sort of bleak majesty. At others, particularly in the second movement Adagio of the G minor, hey achieve seamless, compelling lyricism little short of sublime. ln C.P.E. Bach’s sonata, reaching away from Johann Sebastian into the Classical style, they generate warmth and geniality. The recorded balance, so crucial here, is excellent, the sound warm and immediate.
Tim Homfrav, TheStrad SELECTION November 2007