Gautier Capuçon & Frank Braley
Beethoven. Complete Works for Cello & Piano
Ludwig van Beethoven composed his five Cello Sonatas and Variations in different stages of his career. The first two sonatas (op. 5) were written in 1796 and were dedicated to the King of Prussia, Friedrich Wilhelm II, passionate about music and cellist. The sonatas perplexed the contemporary critics, but this is not surprising when you consider that the composer adopted an original structure in two movements instead of the classical one, in three parts. The Cello Sonata no. 3 (op. 69) was composed in 1808, the year of the Symphonies no. 5 and no. 6, and was dedicated to Baron Ignaz von Gleichenstein. At the premiere, the piano part was played by a distinguished Viennese musician, Baroness Dorothea von Ertmann, considered one of the best pianist of the imperial capital. The last two sonatas (op. 102) were composed 1815, when Beethoven already suffered from deafness and in the second edition were dedicated to Beethoven’s friend and pianist Countess Marie von Erdödy.
Beethoven wrote also three Variations for cello and piano: two of them were based on Die Zauberflöte (on Papageno’s aria Ein Mädchen oder Weibchen and on the Pamina-Papageno duet Bei Männern, welche Liebe fühlen) and the last was composed on a theme from Handel’s Judas Maccabaeus (See on The Conqu’ring Hero Comes) and was dedicated to a pianist and Mozart’s former student, Princess Lichnowsky.
The recording I propose you features pianist Frank Braley and cellist Gautier Capuçon. Braley has already recorded Beethoven’s complete violin sonatas with Renaud Capuçon and has performed and recorded with Gautier Capuçon many times before. This gives us the opportunity to listen to two musicians who knew each other and work well together. The success was expected in such circumstances. The piano is sparkling and finds some precious colours, while the cello is more thoughtful and considered. It is absolutely a pleasure to listen to this album, where you find pieces such as the Sonata no. 1, played with brilliant and joyful spirit, the Sonata no. 2 and its inconsolable melancholy and sombre character, but also the nice Variations on Papageno’s aria, which are maybe less famous.
Complete Works for Cello & Piano the recording that every admirer of Beethoven was waiting for and he or she will be enthusiast of it.