Cello and violin CDs -
'... silken, silvery tone ...'
The 'arpeggione' is one of those hybrid instruments that never caught on.
It was more usually known as a bowed guitar, guitar-cello or guitar d'amour,
and only Schubert gave it the name we know it by. It was described in the leading
Leipzig music journal as resembling an oboe in its upper register and a corno
di bassetto lower down. Invented in 1823, it was frequently played by
Vincenz Schuster, who commissioned the Schubert sonata in 1824, gave its first
performance that year and went on to publish a primer for study of the
six-stringed, fretted instrument with illustrative print.
Ten years later its brief career was virtually at an end.
Natalie Clein claims to have used a lighter bow for Schubert than Brahms.
The result in a relaxed version is much sensitive music-making and a happy
balance between piano and arpeggione
[listen -- 5 86146 2 track 5, 4:21-5:36].
Brahms presents a very different situation. Both sonatas have formidable
problems of interpretation. The first was dedicated to an amateur cellist
and growls on lower strings much of the time. The final fugue is the main
obstacle. Brahms seems bent on a noisy coda to the Art of Fugue,
while rivalling Beethoven in a clattering display of outlandish counterpoint.
Copyright © 23 February 2005
Robert Anderson, London UK