Beethoven’s Great Cello Music

Beethoven: Cello Sonatas Nos. 1-5 and variations.

Performed by Ralph Kirshbaum (cello) and Shai Wosner (piano)

Beethoven’s sonatas for cello and piano span his entire creative life. The Op.5 sonatas date from the late 1790s and therefore they are compositions 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 4th and 5th Symphonies and the Razumovsky String Quartets. It is one of his greatest chamber compositions, a work of great beauty, full of surprises and limitless inventiveness.

The two sonatas of Opus 102 were composed at the beginning of Beethoven’s visionary ‘late period’ and were composed with the last violin sonata, and the piano sonatas Nos.27, 28 and 29 ’Hammerklavier’.

These performances were recorded immediately after live performances at Wigmore Hall In London, the culmination of a tour of all 5 Sonatas and the Variations across the USA and the UK in conjunction with Ralph Kirschbaum’s 70th birthday.

The Guardian wrote:

“Wosner keeps the piano line crisp and buoyant; Kirshbaum spins long, broad phrases that look convincingly into the far distance. Together they make Beethoven’s huge structures work, but the details can be striking too.”

Here is music from this recording:



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