Young-Chang Cho / Benedikt Koehlen

Beethoven: Works For Piano & Cello

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Beethoven broke new ground in nearly every genre for which he composed, not the least of which was works for cello and piano. Such works may not have even occurred to the young Beethoven had it not been for an introduction to Friedrich Wilhelm II of Prussia, a capable amateur cellist in his own right. The early and technically undemanding Variations on "Judas Maccabaeus," WoO 45, were but the launch pad for a series of five sonatas and two additional variation sets that spanned the composer's lifespan and completely changed the way the cello was thought of as a chamber music instrument. This Telos Music album features cellist Young-Chang Cho and pianist Benedikt Koehlen in performances of the complete works for cello and piano. Cho and Koehlen, like Beethoven, seem interested in leaving their own unique mark. Their performances are highly energetic and spirited, so much so that it becomes a detriment at times. Cho's left hand is wonderfully accurate, supple, and well-articulated. His right arm, however, is sometimes quite vertical. While none of these sonatas should be treated as delicate, fragile flowers, they also do not require or benefit from excessively aggressive string attacks -- sometimes so short and dry that a pitch is barely detectable -- or from pushing one's instrument beyond its limits thereby producing a strained, forced sound. Tempo selection throughout the two-disc set is brisk to be sure, but the second movement of the G minor Sonata is played at such a staggering speed that individual notes in both instruments become lost. For his part, Koehlen's playing is much more subtle and refined than Cho's, and he does an admirable job sustaining the quick pace. Telos' sound is close, subjecting listeners to loud finger falls, breathing, and even the occasional grunt.

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Sonata in C major, Op. 102, No. 1
1 7:45
2 7:28
Sonata in D major, Op. 102, No. 2
3 6:24
4 8:34
5 4:16
Twelve variations über ein Thema aus dem Oratorium "Judas Maccabäus" von Händel WoO 45
6 0:45
7 0:42
8 0:39
9 0:42
10 0:42
11 0:48
12 0:39
13 0:34
14 0:49
15 0:51
16 0:39
17 3:18
18 1:06
Seven variations über das Duett "Bei Männern, welche Liebe fühlen", WoO 46
19 1:01
20 0:47
21 0:49
22 1:02
23 1:45
24 0:37
25 2:46
26 1:56
Twelve variation über das Thema "Ein Mädchen oder Weibchen", Op. 66
27 0:31
28 0:35
29 0:34
30 0:32
31 0:36
32 0:31
33 0:30
34 0:41
35 0:30
36 0:35
37 1:18
38 1:19
39 1:54
blue highlight denotes track pick