Beethoven - Complete Sonatas & Variations for Cello & Piano | Onyx ONYX4178

Beethoven - Complete Sonatas & Variations for Cello & Piano


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Label: Onyx

Cat No: ONYX4178

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 2

Genre: Chamber

Release Date: 9th December 2016



Beethoven’s sonatas for cello and piano span his entire creative life. The Op.5 sonatas date from the late 1790s and therefore are products of his early years as a virtuoso pianist and aspiring composer in Vienna, where he had settled after leaving his native Bonn.

The third sonata Op.69 dates from the composer’s ‘middle period’, and is contemporary with the Fourth and Fifth symphonies and the Razumovsky string quartets. It is one of his greatest chamber compositions, a work of great beauty, full of surprises and seemingly limitless inventiveness.

The two sonatas of Op.102 were composed at the beginning of Beethoven’s visionary ‘late period’ and rub shoulders with the last violin sonata, the piano sonatas Nos. 27, 28 and 29 ‘Hammerklavier’. Beethoven’s later fascination with the baroque fugue surfaces not only at the end of the ‘Hammerklavier’ but also in the finale of the fifth sonata, reaching its apex in the ‘Grosse Fugue’ Op.133 a few years later.

These performances were recorded immediately after live performances at Wigmore Hall, the culmination of a tour of all five Sonatas and the Variations across the USA and the UK in conjunction with Texas-born Ralph Kirshbaum’s
70th birthday.


Sometimes it’s like listening to two people excitedly bouncing ideas off each other; at others it’s like a love duet, or even the kind of intense parting conversation in which every word counts to an almost painful degree... There are more extrovert, more dazzlingly charistmatic versions, to be sure, but few that get so close to the complex truth of this music.  Stephen Johnson (Chamber Choice)
BBC Music Magazine April 2017

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