Beethoven: Five Cello Sonatas, Variations / Du Pré
Ludwig van Beethoven
Jacqueline Du Pré
Number of Discs:
2 Hours 22 Mins.
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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.
Notes and Editorial Reviews
A delight, with bold contrasts of dynamics and tone-color to enhance characterization, and slower numbers sung with a speaking espressivo.
Towards the end of 1971 the harsher realities of illness dashed all Jacqueline du Pré's hopes of a studio recording of Beethoven's complete works for cello and piano with her husband, Daniel Barenboim. By great good fortune, however, the BBC were present with microphones when they played the cycle during the 1970 Edinburgh Festival. And after long enriching the LP catalogue, this recording has now been transferred to CD, with all five sonatas and the three Sets of variations fitted (by the omission of certain repeats in the first three sonatas as well as of all applause) on
to only two discs lasting for an exceptionally generous total of 142 minutes. If doing less than complete justice to Du Pré's vibrant tone, the sound-quality is acceptable enough. But rarely (so it seems) can Edinburgh weather have been worse. Persistent coughing from the audience must have proved as grievous a cross for these two deeply committed young artists to bear as it remains for prospective CD purchasers.
At first I thought balance over-favoured the pianist, who emerges very much the leader in the early F major Sonata, and even in parts of its immediate G minor successor. But as the maturing Beethoven himself gradually unites the two instruments as equal partners, so all problems of this kind are overcome. After such searching intensity in the introductory Adagio of the latter work, how the two players enjoy the gaiety and sparkle of its concluding G major Rondo. In the lyrical A major Sonata, their point-making is never allowed to disrupt the music's longer flow. In the last two late works, nothing haunts the memory more than their withdrawn, self-communing slow movements, especially the devoutly suppliant Adagio (taken extremely slowly) of the D major Sonata (and, incidentally, how subtly they prepare for its other-worldliness in the coda of the preceding Allegro con brio). I also greatly enjoyed their temperament, as well as their relish of the composer's craftsmanship, in the darting exchanges of both finales.
The Variations are pure delight, with the boldest contrasts of dynamics and tone-colour to enhance characterization. Slower, minor key numbers are sung with a speaking espressivo. And the spontaneity and sparkle of so many of the others is just what the booklet's happy, laughing photograph of Du Pré and Barenboim in action would lead you to expect.
-- Joan Chissell, Gramophone [8/1989]
Works on This Recording
Sonata No.1 in F Op.5 No.1 (1988 Digital Remaster): I. Adagio sostenuto
Sonata No.1 in F Op.5 No.1 (1988 Digital Remaster): Allegro
Sonata No.1 in F Op.5 No.1 (1988 Digital Remaster): II. Allegro vivace
Sonata No.2 in G minor Op.5 No.2 (1988 Digital Remaster): I. Adagio sostenuto ed espressivo
Sonata No.2 in G minor Op.5 No.2 (1988 Digital Remaster): Allegro molto piu tosto presto
Sonata No.2 in G minor Op.5 No.2 (1988 Digital Remaster): II. Rondo (Allegro)
Sonata for Cello and Piano No.3 in A major Op.69 (1988 Digital Remaster): I. Allegro ma non tanto
Sonata for Cello and Piano No.3 in A major Op.69 (1988 Digital Remaster): II. Scherzo (Allegro molto)
Sonata for Cello and Piano No.3 in A major Op.69 (1988 Digital Remaster): III. Adagio cantabile
Cello Sonata No. 4 in C Op. 102 No. 1 (1988 Digital Remaster): I. Andante - Allegro vivace
Cello Sonata No. 4 in C Op. 102 No. 1 (1988 Digital Remaster): II. Adagio - Tempo d'Andante - Allegro vivace
Cello Sonata No. 5 in D Op. 102 No. 2 (1988 Digital Remaster): I. Allegro con brio
Cello Sonata No. 5 in D Op. 102 No. 2 (1988 Digital Remaster): II. Adagio con molto sentimento d'affetto
Cello Sonata No. 5 in D Op. 102 No. 2 (1988 Digital Remaster): III. Allegro - Allegro fugato
12 Variations on Handel's ''See the conqu'ring hero comes' from ''Judas Maccabaeus' WoO45 (1988 Digital Remaster)
7 Variations on Mozart's 'Bei Männern, welche Liebe fühlen' from 'Die Zauberflöte' WoO46 (1988 Digital Remaster)
12 Variations on Mozart's 'Ein Mädchen oder Weibchen' from 'Die Zauberflöte' Op. 66 (1988 Digital Remaster)
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