Isabelle Faust (violin), Jean-Guihen Queyras (cello) & Alexander Melnikov (piano)
This generous boxed set gathers together all the Beethoven chamber recordings made by three outstanding soloists, on both period instruments and modern ones, with two complete cycles coupled here for the first time. The cello sonatas splendidly illustrate the first two stylistic periods of a master who literally created the genre. The ten violin sonatas accompanied the composer - who was also a virtuoso pianist and trained violinist - over one of the busiest decades of his career. From the three Sonatas Op.12 to the "Kreutzer," Isabelle Faust, Jean-Guihen Queyras and Alexander Melnikov take us on a fascinating journey through a thrilling repertory.
Beethoven - Cello Sonatas Nos. 1-5:
No. 1 in F major, Op. 5 No. 1
No. 2 in G minor, Op. 5 No. 2
No. 3 in A major, Op. 69
No. 4 in C major, Op. 102 No. 1
No. 5 in D major, Op. 102 No. 2
with Jean-Guihen Queyras (cello) & Alexander Melnikov (piano)
Beethoven’s sonatas for cello and piano were written between 1796 and 1815. He effectively created the sonata for cello, with an independent piano part, in his Op.5, intended for Jean-Louis Duport and dedicated to Frederick William II of Prussia. They represent his first-period style, as Op.69 typifies the second. The two sublime Sonatas Op.102, for their part, already herald the unprecedented stylistic freedom of the composer’s final decade.
"His cello always speaks with its own conversational voice, not as the music's curator but as its protagonist...Melnikov rewards that primary focus given to him in the early Op. 5 Sonatas with great precision of effect - colour, nuance and expression - that's not often encountered even among the best chamber music players."
Gramophone Magazine - November 2014
"This superb recording achieves a rare balance between Melnikov's miraculous transparency and Queyras's airy, limpid elegance, and non-vibratoed purity of sound. Their approach is ideal in the filigree exuberance of the three Variation works where Melnikov's witty sense of timing sets up a delicious teasing tension."
BBC Music Magazine - Christmas 2014 ****
"A virtuoso pairing of noteworthy technical brilliance and arresting power…very highly recommended...Both accounts are superlative, and recorded sound throughout harmonia mundi’s cycle is especially pleasing and natural, with the cello’s entire register effortlessly reproduced. In sum, this proves to be a deeply rewarding Beethoven cycle from these artists, offering much in the way of novel and unexpected insight."
International Record Review - December 2014
Beethoven - Violin Sonatas Nos. 1-10:
No. 1 in D major, Op. 12 No. 1
No. 2 in A major, Op. 12 No. 2
No. 3 in E flat major, Op. 12 No. 3
No. 4 in A minor, Op. 23
No. 5 in F major, Op. 24 'Spring'
No. 6 in A major, Op. 30 No. 1
No. 7 in C minor, Op. 30 No. 2
No. 8 in G major, Op. 30 No. 3
No. 9 in A major, Op. 47 ‘Kreutzer'
No. 10 in G major, Op. 96
with Isabelle Faust (violin) & Alexander Melnikov (piano)
This interpretation enabled them to get as close as possible to the composer's intentions.
"…the most stimulating and fascinating accounts of the Beethoven violin sonatas I have heard in many years. Isabelle Faust and Alexander Melnikov bring out the full quirkiness of the earlier works as well as their beauty, and their playing is remarkably accomplished throughout."
BBC Music Magazine October 2009 *****
"A triumph of probing musicianship that sets new standards in the digital era."
Classic FM Magazine - November 2009 *****
"The musical sleight of hand used by these expert players to focus the very different character of each sonata is in itself cause for wonder. Though quite different as musical personalities...the combination of the two fires a laser between the staves...A marvellous set."
Trio for piano, violin and cello No. 6 in E Flat Major, No. 2, Op. 70
Piano Trio No. 7 in B flat Major, Op. 97 'Archduke'
with Isabelle Faust (violin), Jean-Guihen Queyras (cello) & Alexander Melnikov (Graff fortepiano)
Three eminent Beethovenians, Isabelle Faust, Jean-Guihen Queyras and Alexander Melnikov join forces here in performances that aim to highlight Beethoven's humour in their interpretation and set a new benchmark in the process. Their next project will be Schumann Piano Trios to be recorded in May and released in 2015.
"A cellist who tends towards introversion; a fortepianist who tends the other way. Put them together and something magical happens within the tensions they engender."
Gramophone Magazine - February 2014
"Melnikov works wonders with his 1828 Graff piano, managing to make it less clattery and more piano-like than in most other fortepiano recordings."
BBC Music Magazine - April 2014 *****