Cello Sonata No.5 in b minor, Op.56
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 Fifth Cello Sonata dates from 1907. In four movements, it opens with a big Moderato, which though moderate in tempo and genial to begin with, has several powerful episodes of dramatic passion. The second movement, Allegro con moto, is a cross between a dark, pounding scherzo and and an intermezzo. Next comes a lovely slow movement, a tender Poco adagio, The Sonata concludes with Molto passionato e vivace. At first we hear a modern version of a tarantella but soon a more lyrical landscape takes over.
This is a powerful and impressive late Romantic era work which should be of great interest to both professionals and amateurs alike and an excellent recital choice. Out of print for many years, we are pleased to reintroduce it.