Trip to Russia
Rare Russian cello repertoire: From the Old World
Perhaps the relatively small size of a repertoire is an advantage after all. The vast realm occupied by the leading genres – as in Verdi’s operatic oeuvre, Bach’s cantatas, Schubert’s Lieder or Haydn’s symphonies – seems so extensive as to make one despair of embracing it in its entirety. The cello repertoire cannot boast such wide expanses, and Daniel Müller-Schott seems to take real pleasure in making a virtue of necessity, in introducing us to great works of the literature and casting fresh light on each of them.His new all-Russian programme revolves around Tchaikovsky’s Rococo Variations. Other works by Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov and Alexander Glazunov bring together composers in a late Romantic tradition that ended on the death of Glazunov in 1936, even if that troika met only once – at the dedication of a statue to Glinka in 1885.
Apart from that the three composers are united by a complex and tense relationship portrayed in detail in the booklet in an extensive artist interview conducted by Meret Forster. Daniel Müller-Schott brings home to us how the Rococo Variations depict Tchaikovsky’s love of Mozart and his “modern”, nobly historical awareness of past times – along with his own intensive emotionalism. He also presents Tchaikovsky’s three-part “Souvenir d’un lieu cher”, a work scarcely to be heard in its original version for violin, now transposed to the cello by the soloist (having previously been orchestrated by Glazunov) who thus poses himself the ultimate challenge – while enlarging the cello repertoire.
This and other highly entertaining and enlighteningly different examples of the genre, presented by an accomplished soloist who himself studied under that monumental Russian virtuoso Mstislav Rostropovich, cannot fail to give their interpreter a historical dimension of his own. It is already more than a quarter of a century since he won first prize in the Tchaikovsky Competition for Young Musicians, which marked the commencement of his international career – a career which has lasted longer and more sustainably than is to be expected amid the evanescent glories of our times.