Cello Sonata No.2 in D Major, Op.89
Carl Reinecke (1824-1910) was born near Hamburg in the town of Altona. As a musician, he was truly a renaissance man, excelling in virtually every area. For three decades, he was considered one of the finest pianists performing before the public. Mendelssohn, Schumann and Liszt, were all very favorably impressed not only with his playing but also his compositions. He was appointed to the position of professor of piano and composition at the prestigious Leipzig Conservatory, where he became one of the most famous teachers in the world considered to have few if any equals. Among his many students were Grieg, Bruch, Janacek, Albeniz, Sinding, Svendsen, Reznicek, Delius, Arthur Sullivan, George Chadwick, Ethel Smyth, Felix Weingartner, Karl Muck and Hugo Riemann. He eventually rose to the position of Director of the Conservatory and also served as the conductor of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra into one of the finest orchestras in the world. As a composer, he produced widely respected and often performed works in every genre running the gamut from opera, to orchestral to chamber music. In his time, Reinecke and his music were unquestionably regarded as first rate. His instrumental sonatas are among his finest works.
Cello Sonata No.2 was composed in 1866, some 18 years after his first. It was published in 1867 and was immediately hailed as a very effective concert piece because of its melodic and harmonic ideas. The opening movement begins with a baleful Lento, which then gives way to a very relaxed Allegro molto moderato, which then elaborates the poignant main theme. The second movement, Andante, begins with a brief piano flourish before the cello introduces the gorgeous, but funereal main theme. The sense of mourning is palpable. The elaboration is ingenuous with the cello providing a subtle but highly effective pizzicato accompaniment. The finale, Moderato, has an uplifting and hopeful subject for its main theme. A lyrical, Schumannesque melody, serves as the second theme.
Again, Reinecke has left a absolutely first rate cello sonata that deserves regular recital hall performance and will also be a joy to amateurs.