The Strad Issue: January 2011
Description: Dramatically etched performances of Britten’s three solo cello suites
Musicians: Daniel Müller-Schott (cello)
Composer: Britten

Effecting a narrative is of the essence in performing unaccompanied works for cello, a feature that Daniel Müller-Schott strikingly achieves here, particularly in the First Suite. His realisation of the evocative canto theme is a dramatic one, and his emulation of the guitar in the Serenata is equally vivid. In the Bordone he conveys the stylised rustic quality with the simplicity of the drone, which imperceptibly switches between open and stopped Ds. His detailed attention to phrase characterisation coupled with intelligent voicing make the Fugue cogent, and his use of rubato is effective in pushing forward the impetus.

The Second Suite is perhaps more elusive and therefore more difficult to project. Nonetheless, in this ambient and warm recording, Müller-Schott generates a persuasive argument. He is fluid in the scherzo, and ably charts the course of the long Ciaccona with its varied figuration.

He is just as striking in his interpretation of the declamatory passages in the more introverted Third Suite. His faithful observation of the performance instructions generates intensity and flexibility, especially in the quasi-recitative passages. The Marcia, delivered with sharply etched bowing, makes an especially powerful impact, but the most eloquent playing comes in the atmospheric tranquillity and anguish of the concluding ‘Kontakion’.

Joanne Talbot