Five cello sonatas by Beethoven are logically allocated along three stages of his creative work. Two of them were written in the early period (op.5), one (op.69) is a fundamental composition of the middle period, and finally, two more (op.102) signify the beginning of the late period during which Beethoven thoroughly studied Bach’s laws of composition. Two of his last sonatas for cello and piano Beethoven dedicated to cellist Joseph Linke who performed his late quartets: by that time the composer was completely deaf and could judge Linke's art relying just on his own observations of the bow movements. In both sonatas which were joined in op.102, Beethoven cuts piano polyphony to the minimum and almost completely cancels on virtuoso passages, which results in a clear and colorful dialogue between piano and cello.

The first of the two sonatas was defined by the composer as “free”. Same as in piano sonata op.27 No.1, its separate parts are not split by breaks, but one freely flows into another. An improvised character of the sonata is spread harmoniously between the parts of both instruments. Surprisingly, the tragic circumstances that Beethoven faced at the downhill of his life had almost no reflection in his composition!

During the premiere the only cello sonata by Edvard Grieg had cold reception from the audience – probably, as the composer himself critically remarked, it had very many borrowings from his earlier pieces. But for all that, the parts of both instruments in the sonata strike with their balance: it is this quality of Grieg’s music that was so valued by Brahms. The colorful sonata is an excellent picture of Grieg’s style: it seems that having listened to it we know all about the composer. 

Young Russian cellist Alexander Ramm received classical music education in the Moscow State Conservatory and continued in Berlin with Frans Helmerson. Alexander is a winner of many prestigious awards of international competitions, including silver medal at the International Tchaikovsky Competition in 2015. 

Anna Odintsova who accompanies Ramm on the piano is also in the focus of the musical community. At the International Tchaikovsky Competition in 2015 she was recognized as the best piano accompanist. Anna is also a graduate of the Moscow Conservatory and has concerts around the whole Europe. 

Ludwig van Beethoven
Sonata for cello and piano No.4 C major op.102 No.1 (1815)

  1. Andante – Allegro vivace
  2. Adagio - Allegro vivace

Edvard Grieg
Sonata for cello and piano A minor op.36 (1882-83)

  1. Allegro agitato
  2. Andante molto tranquillo
  3. Allegro molto e marcato

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Hermitage! Dankeschön! Sehr gefallen

Michael Kraatz

Toll, liebe Anja! Nicht nur, wie ihr gut spielt, Cello und Klavier, auch, wie gut aufeinander abgestimmt! Und wenn ich dich, Anna, sehe: was ist aus diesem kleinen, später auch sehr eigenwilligen, aber liebenswerten Mädchen geworden! Ich hoffe, du bist nicht nur gut als Künstlerin, sondern auch glücklich! Beste Wünsche aus Zeuthen bei Berlin! Von Michael.

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