The Elgar and Walton cello concertos make a perfect coupling and this is the second time André Previn has conducted the pairing on disc. The first, in 1984, had Yo-Yo Ma, still near the beginning of his career, and the LSO.
Here he’s with the young German cellist Daniel Müller-Schott and his own Oslo Philharmonic in an equally idiomatic reading. Significantly, Müller-Schott writes his own booklet-notes, demonstrating his warm affection for and understanding of both works. It is the passion of his playing that strikes home immediately – he uses a wider vibrato than Ma, and rather freer, less inhibited phrasing.
That passion comes over not only in the slower music of the Elgar but also in the seemingly hesitating introduction to the second-movement Scherzo; and where Ma’s reading of the slow movement is marked by refinement and nobility, Müller-Schott’s is weightier. Similarly, in the central Scherzo of the Walton, where Ma is very fast and volatile, Müller-Schott is heavier-handed, though without losing the piece’s sparkle.
“The world now has a new, great cellist – 30-year-old Daniel Müller-Schott from Munich, and he is, more or less, a protégé of star violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter.
His debut at the Salzburg Festspiele was in August, but apart from that, he plays all over the world. It would be a delight to listen to him in the Danish broadcasting company’s new concert hall, when the hall is actually ready! Together with Anne-Sophie Mutter and André Previn, Daniel Müller-Schott played Mozart in Aalborg and Aarhus last spring, and prior to that he played Shostakovich as a guest with the Odense Symphony Orchestra. He is a musician who gesticulates naturally, just like Ove Andsnes. Never any incorrect intonation, never an artificial phrase, no extremes which cannot be explained. So isn’t it boring? Not at all. Absolutely not. For Daniel Müller-Schott fills every phrase with musical meaning, colours and articulates, weakens, or continues as required, because there can be no doubt whatsoever about his virtuosity. And the vibrato is powerful and expressive, but always used tastefully. No one could say that world couldn’t have survived without one more recording of the Elgar concerto, but this is the best there has been for years.
We don’t have too many of Walton, and Müller-Schott is particularly moving in the lyrical beginning. Previn and the Oslo Philharmonic have found each other, a fortunate synthesis of talents. That wasn’t what one might have expected beforehand.
Politiken, Denmark, September 2006
Once again, Daniel Müller-Schott demonstrates emphatically (but does he have to?) that he is one of today’s really outstanding cellists. His playing evinces mastery of everything from lyrical tones to energetic impetuosity. Not least because of the difference in the way the orchestra is conducted, the two heavyweights of cello literature are presented transparently and in close proximity to each other. Exemplary.
Neue Musikzeitung, September 2006, Reinhard Schulz
Significantly, Müller-Schott writes his own booklet-notes, demonstrating his warm affection and understanding of both works. It is the passion of his playing that strikes home immediately – he uses a wider vibrato than Ma, and rather freer, less inhibited phrasing.
…… The solo cello is balanced very far forward so that at the start of the Walton its sound obscures the subtle detail in the orchestration. That said, there is everything to enjoy in performances that are uninhibited, bringing out the warmth of both pieces
gramophone August 2006, Edward Greenfield
….I was rewarded by performances that combine technical assurance with eloquent expression. The opening of the Elgar promises well, with poised, ringing chords, a sensitively positioned B natural …. Daniel Müller-Schott pays scrupulous attention to the composer’s frequent accents and sforzandos throughout the work, an the recorded sound and balance are good. Ther e’s no sense of hurry in the dainty and humorous second movement ….and the Adagio is entensely felt, with rich, well-controlled vibrato…. Not much could better the magical moment towards the end ( Walton Celloconcerto) when cello and orchestra finally come together in a passage of shimmering strings beneath the cello’s high trills – surely one of the moments Müller-Schott refers to in his booklet notes when you can feel the golden rays of sun and blue tones of the sea around Ischia.
the Strad, August 2006, Janet Banks
I first heard Müller-Schott play when he was a teenager, and I’ve not forgotten his intense, muscular musicianship. His EMI Debut disc of Poulenc’s Sonata was impressive, but here he is entering a crowded market. He makes a bold entrance, smoothing over those tentative first stepgs up the scale with gleaming confidence. This is a glossy, Rolls Royce of an Elgar. …. The Walton, by contrast, is distinctive, not least because the Oslo Philharmonic under Previn is on cracking form.
This subtly playful, sun-lit work is fiendishly difficult and requires just the sort of powerful virtuosity Müller-Schott displays. He throws off the knuckle-breaking chords and octaves in the startling Allegro with aplomb; his diamond bright high register cuts through the dazzling wind and brass, while his final cadenza gathers tremendous momentum. He cannot match the insouciant charm and athletic grace of its dedicatee, Piatigorsky, but there’s a vivacity to his playing which suggests a master in the making.
BBC Music Magazin, July 2006, Helen Wallace
„Cellist Daniel Müller-Schott and André Previn team up for an absolutely outstanding coupling of the two most important English cello concertos.
… Müller-Schott plays with consummate taste and extraordinary virtuosity. His well-controlled vibrato gives the lyrical climaxes in the first movement great intensity with no coarsening of tone, and his dexterity in the ensuing scherzo is little short of astonishing. The flowing tempo that he and Previn adopt in the slow movement offers tenderness without excessive sentimentality, and the robust finale provides the perfect, satisfying finish. Throughout (and in the Walton coupling) the playing of the Oslo Philharmonic is world-class, and the sonics are rich, natural, and well-balanced.
… Müller-Schott and Previn simply play the living daylights (Walton’s Cello Concerto) out of it after breezing through the central scherzo with awesome virtuoso brilliance. It would be difficult to imagine a more impressive calling card for a sensational young cellist than this release. If you love these two works, you should certainly hear it.”
www.classicstoday.com, David Hurwitz
In an enthusiastic — and touching — personal note (with musical examples) on these two great English concertos, the outstanding young German player describes Elgar’s work as “the climax and conclusion of the composer’s creative career, a requiem for the millions of women and men who had lost their lives in the first world war”. The concerto’s tone is predominantly elegiac. Müller-Schott’s expressive legato movingly captures the sadness and resignation of the adagio, but he can dazzle, too, in the restless semiquavers of the allegro molto section of the scherzo-like second movement. This is a deeply felt, freshly conceived reading of a much-recorded piece. No less desirable is his account of the Walton: similarly nostalgic music, brightened in its central allegro appassionato by the brilliance of the Neapolitan sunshine on the sea around Ischia, where the piece was composed. Previn, always an ardent champion of English composers, proves a sympathetic partner, with his idiomatic-sounding Oslo orchestra. Four stars!
Sunday Times Review, 18. Juni 2006, Hugh Canning
DIE ZEIT recommends Edward Elgar, William Walton: Cello Concertos op. 85 und op. 68 Daniel Müller-Schott, cello - Oslo Philharmonic Orch. - Conductor: André Previn - Orfeo C 621 061 A
DIE ZEIT Nr.21, 2006-05-18, page 44
Daniel Müller-Schott plays Elgar and Walton
Making music in the company of violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter and conductor and pianist André Previn has certainly played an important part in the career of the dashing cellist Daniel Müller-Schott - but he would also have made his way without such prominent partners. An excellent example of his skill on the cello has just appeared on the Orfeo label; with the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by André Previn, he interprets the cello concertos of Edward Elgar and William Walton. Edward Elgar’s concerto, performed for the first time in 1919, is a serious and final work, of its age, and its lamenting cantilenes are safe in Daniel Müller-Schott’s hands. No less intensive is his performance of the solo part in William Walton’s concerto, written in 1957 – and the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra provides a lavish and elegiac sound.
Wiesbadener Kurier, Mai 2006
This involvement with those composers who are more traditionally orientated is, of course, the more successful the better the musicians are. Now there is another welcome example: together with the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by André Previn, cellist Daniel-Müller Schott has recorded cello concertos by Edward Elgar and William Walton ...
Perhaps this cello concerto – Elgar’s very last important work – is a retrospection of the romantic solo concerto par excellence, of a grandiose era which will never return. At all events, it is breathtaking to observe the intensity with which Daniel Müller-Schott and the Oslo musicians give expression to this nostalgia, this sorrow.
What also makes this CD so precious is the recording of William Walton’s cello concerto, which is rarely heard either on a CD or in concert. Certainly, Walton’s late lyrical style is a treat for any cellist, and Daniel Müller-Schott takes every opportunity to present a nuanced performance.
Deutschlandradio – Neue Platte, May 2006, by Ludwig Rink
After Joseph Haydn, Joseph Joachim Raff and Aram Khatchaturian, Daniel Müller-Schott now presents his fourth CD with cello concertos, demonstrating once more that he has become one of the leading cellists among the younger generation. He plays the introverted Elgar concerto, one of the most beautiful pieces ever composed for the cello, with technical perfection and wonderfully warm intonation, and certainly with the courage to make big, romantic gestures, yet without the slightest trace of the sentimentality which can so easily ruin the piece. With his precise feeling for what is necessary, Müller-Schott captures the wistful and retrospective nature of this concerto ….. As wonderful as Elgar’s concerto undoubtedly is, given the number of existing versions, Müller-Schott’s recording of the William Walton cello concerto is perhaps even more important for the repertoire ….
Müller-Schott and Previn play this wonderful concerto in a manner which is unbelievably animated and sophisticated. Quite clearly, the recording is a declaration of love – and certainly a successful one.
BR 4 Klassik, CD Tip by Oswald Beaujean