There are divine passages, of course. But also rather mundane ones. In Amin Katchaturian’s concert, they stem from the schematic treatment of form. Orchestral introduction, first theme, intermezzo, second theme, the intermezzo again, then the development. And so on. Not the least of the reasons for this was to satisfy Soviet party doctrine – which, however, did not protect the composer against being disciplined. All this means that it is up to the listener to look behind the mask of convention. This recording makes it easy: Daniel Müller-Schott, without a doubt the most fascinating of today’s young cellists, produces a blazingly intensive tone. So direct, so totally emotional is the way in which he approaches Katchaturian that there can be no doubts about the sincerity of this tragic music. The interpretation simply throbs as a result of the adrenaline. Sakari Oramo and the excellent orchestra are swept up in all the enthusiasm.
Recorded at a live concert? We don’t know, although during the violin concerto some noise can clearly be heard in the concert hall. Slight errors on the part of the orchestra are left uncorrected. Arabella Steinbacher, born in Munich in 1981, is making her recording debut here; technically perfect, tasteful, and with a sound whose voluptuous sensuality immediately recalls Anne-Sophie Mutter. However, the declaration that the instruments made by Bonn violin-maker Peter Greiner can stand comparison with the best of the old “Italians” is not one that can be confirmed this time; Steinbacher’s violin, made in 2002, still sounds lacklustre. When compared with Müller-Schott’s superb Goffriller, this is all the more noticeable.
Anselm Cybinski, Fono-Forum 08/04
With Khachaturian, the world of Spartacus and the Sabre Dance is never that far away, but in these two concertos he managed to forge his fruity lyricism, exotic melodic tracery and propulsive rhythms into strongly structured works that have more than mere spectacle about them.
The Cello Concerto (1946) is a darkly hued piece, maybe influenced by wartime worries and certainly played with a wealth of intensity and angst here by Daniel Müller-Schott. This is music of apprehension, storm and stress, with a disturbed, furrow-browed elegy as its central movement. It is a proper concerto, allowing the soloist the limelight when it comes to virtuosity and melody, but the orchestra's harmonic and tonal palette reinforces the music's troubled context.
The Violin Concerto (1940) comes rather closer to the more exuberant mood of the Khachaturian ballets, more sultry than sombre, more spry than shadowy, but its innate passion and distinctive Armenian colouring are firmly harnessed by Arabella Steinbacher.
... The release of this CD shows that the limits to style and temperament are more easily overcome today than used to be the case. In Daniel Müller-Schott's
hands, the in 1946 firstly performed cello concerto beseeches and burns with the right degree of Eastern tone in its soul - also superbly accompanied by Oramo and the orchestra from Birmingham.
Götz Thieme, Stuttgarter Zeitung April 21, 2004
By "Kurier" correspondents
They are young, attractive, and caress the strings perfectly. Violinist Arabella Steinbacher and cellist Daniel Müller-Schott have appeared several times as a duo, and now the two of them have got together for a CD project, recording Khachaturian's solo concertos on the 100th anniversary of his birthday. And when it comes to temperament, they reveal themselves to be fiery relatives: the virtuoso sparks fly, the passion pulsates, and the changing and full range of emotions is experienced with bowing which fills the auditorium. It is fascinating to see the intensity with which the 23-year-old violinist sinks into the meditative melancholy of the andante before - no less impressively - she employs her fullness of tone in the dissonant screams.
Such musicality and sureness of taste also characterise Daniel Müller-Schott: his cello "sings", he strolls through the complicated rhythmical structures and double stop passages as surely as a sleep-walker. And nor, given all the rapture of sounds, does the dark tone of the piece suffer; on the contrary, in the soulful tone of the cellist it finds an extremely sensitive musician. The fact that, given such exciting soloists, Sakari Oramo was willing to take a back seat, underlines his greatness - and the fact that his orchestra plays so brilliantly makes this recording into a (birthday) present that is well worth listening to. Even if its release wasn't quite timely.
WIESBADENER KURIER, 07.05.2004
"More than just a showpiece for a virtuoso. Daniel Müller-Schott proofs to be a passionate embassador for Khatchaturian's Cello Concerto. Technically flawless, with brilliance and great musicality..."
WDR Klassik Hörzeichen, Eva Kullmer, March 2004