Miklós Perényi / András Schiff

Beethoven: Complete Music for Piano and Violoncello

(CD - ECM #000338902)

Review by

There have been many other great sets of Beethoven's works for cello and piano. How could it be otherwise with such central repertoire, the core works of any cellist's concert programs, and along with Bach's Cello Suites, the apex and crown of any cellist's recording career? But no matter how many other great sets of Beethoven's works for cello crowd the shelves, this great set of Beethoven's works for cello and piano by Miklos Perenyi and Andras Schiff belongs on every shelf for two reasons. The first reason is that Perenyi and Schiff's set is the only great set that also has Beethoven's own transcription for cello of his Horn Sonata, and while the suave transcription cannot match the bumptious original, it is still an interesting gloss on the original. The second reason is that Perenyi and Schiff's set is one of the warmest and most deeply human of all the great sets of Beethoven's works for cello and piano. From the emotional and eccentric pair of early Sonatas, Op. 5, through the witty and whimsical pair of Mozart Variations and the heroic Handel Variations and the virtuosic Sonata, Op. 69, to the emotional and eccentric pair of mature Sonatas, Op. 102, Perenyi and Schiff's performances are obviously affectionate and profoundly affecting, performances that touch the heart. ECM's sound is clear and vivid, but perhaps just a tad dry.

blue highlight denotes track pick