Cello Sonata in e minor, OP.18
Georg Schumann's Cello Sonata in e minor was completed toward the end of 1897 and given its premiere the following year with Schumann at the piano and its dedicatee, Hugo Becker, one of Europe's leading cellists. It must have been more than a coincidence that the sonata not only is in the same key at that of Brahms' first cello sonata, but also begins much the same in tempo, Allegro moderato con molto espressione and in the same way with the cello giving out the theme in its lower registers against strong chords in the piano. The big movement traverses many mood swings not only showing the influence of Brahms but also that of Liszt and Berlioz. The second movement, Andante cantabile, begins in a somber vein, con dolore ed espressione. In the contrasting middle section the mood becames agitated and rather dramatic. In the pregnant finale, Allegro energico con fuoco, the composer presents no less than seven separate subjects in a compositional tour d'force.
Georg Schumann (1866-1952) was born in the German town of Konigstein. He was born into a musical family. His father was the town Music Director and he initially studied piano and violin with him. He studied organ in Dresden and then entered the Leipzig conservatory where he studied piano with Reinecke and composition with Salomon Jadassohn. He became a brilliant pianist and started off on a solo career but later branched off and enjoyed a conducting career in Bremen and later Berlin where he also taught. He composed throughout his life and he was especially fond of chamber music and composed two piano trios, two piano quintets, a piano quartet and some instrumental sonatas.
This is a big, late Romantic era work which has much to offer and would do well in the recital hall. It has been unavailable for many decades. We are pleased to make it available once again and recommend it to both professionals and experienced amateurs alike.