Beethoven: Cello Sonatas; Variations, Op. 66, WoO 45 & WoO 46

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COMPOSERS: Beethoven
LABELS: DG
WORKS: Cello Sonatas; Variations, Op. 66, WoO 45 & WoO 46
PERFORMER: Mischa Maisky (cello)Martha Argerich (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 439 934-2 DDD (1991/93)
Well worth owning: Beethoven’s complete cello and piano output, in committed performances by both artists. The composer described these sonatas as ‘for piano and cello’; the recording balance reflects this, with Argerich often to the fore. The interpretations, though individual, are seldom wayward. Argerich discovers a rare mood of mystery in the first two movements of Op. 69, and there are some exquisite moments of rubato, such as Maisky’s slight rallentando in the opening D major arpeggio of Op. 102/2 – though elsewhere phrases are occasionally distorted.

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Those who survive Maisky’s hairy chest on the booklet’s inside cover will be rewarded with four pages of valuable and comprehensive notes by William Drabkin. Janet Banks