This release features the four works for cello and piano of Carl Reinecke. The earliest was written when the composer was 31; the last when he was 73. Collectively they provide snapshots of Reinecke’s artistic development.

Cellist Martin Rummel and pianist Roland Krüger garnered great reviews for their release of Joseph Merk’s cello works. This release should do the same. Even though Reinecke’s sonatas favor the cello or the piano, the two musicians work as a team.

The interpretations of Rummel and Krüger mesh beautifully, reveling in the sonic possibilities of this late-Romantic music. Rummel’s cello has a full, singing tone that’s perfectly balanced by Krüger’s nuanced playing.

Reinecke’s 1855 Cello Sonata No. 1 in A minor, Op. 42 bears a strong Schumann influence. Reinecke’s melodies seamlessly flow from one to the next. The Cello Sonata No. 2 in D major, Op. 89 is a different story. Reinecke had matured as a composer. his music shifts moods — purposefully —  with some abruptness. The melodic duties are more evenly distributed between the two instruments.

The Three Pieces for Cello and Piano, Op. 146 are simple little works to be enjoyed. This 1893 set of miniatures are beautifully crafted, with wonderfully appealing melodies. Reinecke’s final cello sonata finished in 1897 is the work of a mature composer. The music demands much of both the cellist and pianist. Reinecke’s music is richly complex and richly expressive.

Listening to this release, I felt that Sonata No. 3 was one the one Rummel and Krüger enjoyed the most. Both parts are meaty and require a high level of musicianship to properly blend them into a cohesive whole. Of course, I don’t know how the performers felt about this work — that’s just my impression.

Carl Reinecke: Complete Works for Cello and Piano
Martin Rummel, cello; Roland Krüger, piano
Naxos 8.573727