25 Essential Beethoven Recordings: The Cello Sonatas

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following the practice of his time, Beethoven actually called his cello-piano duos "Sonatas for Piano and Cello" — not the reverse. But most pianists—even famous soloists—succumb to a self-effacing pianist syndrome as soon as they sit down to play them: They are purely "cello sonatas" and the pianists are accompanists.

That's not a problem for Martha Argerich, who has long been famous for her temperamental fire. In the early 1990s (note the cover hairstyles) Argerich teamed up with Mischa Maisky, one of the most soulful cellists around, to record Beethoven's five sonatas for piano and cello.

Argerich and Maisky's studio recordings are full of the passionate and nuanced music making that comes from those who have been performing together for many years. The finale of the A Major Sonata, Op. 69 is a particularly revealing example, with its tempestuous opening, as is the effusive Allegro of the C major sonata, Op. 102.

Along with the sonatas, DG has included three variation sets; two on melodies from Mozart's Magic Flute and another on "See, the conquering hero comes" from Handel's Judas Maccabaeus.

Martha Argerich & Mischa Maisky
The 5 Cello Sonatas; Variations
Deutsche Grammophon