Cello Sonata No.2 in a minor, Op.41
Julius Röntgen (1855-1932) was born in the German city of Leipzig. His father was a violinist and his mother a pianist. He showed musical talent at an early age and was taken to the famed pianist and composer, Carl Reinecke, the director of the Gewandhaus orchestra. Subsequently he studied piano in Munich with Franz Lachner, one of Schubert's closest friends. After a brief stint as a concert pianist, Röntgen moved to Amsterdam and taught piano there, helping to found the Amsterdam Conservatory and the subsequently world famous Concertgebouw Orchestra. He composed throughout his life and especially during his last 10 years after he retired. Though he wrote in most genres, chamber music was his most important area.
Röntgen’s Second Cello Sonata dates from 1900. In four movements, it opens with a leisurely Allegro non troppo e affettuoso, the dark, somewhat pleading main theme sports a Brahmsian lugubriousness. The second movement, Vivace ma non presto, begins like a spooky Halloween dance but gradually brightens. Next comes a solemn and stately Adagio. The finale, Allegro agitato, begins in impetuous fashion, full of forward motion. The theme is presented in a series of variations, alternatively lyrical, exciting and dramatic.
This is a superb late Romantic era work wonderfully written for the cello and piano. It will make a superb recital choice. Out of print for many years, we are pleased to reintroduce it.