Beethoven, Complete Music for Piano and Cello

Spacious, gracious, richly colored and finely etched.

Spacious, gracious, richly colored and finely etched. These are the watchwords for pianist Andras Schiff and cellist Miklos Perenyi's survey of Beethoven's music for cello and piano, which includes the seven sonatas, stately variations on Handel's oratorio "Judas Maccabeus" and an absolutely charming set of variations based on Mozart's opera "The Magic Flute." The deep lyricism that both artists bring to this music is an absolute delight, and certainly these are two performers playing at the top of their games. There are some interpretational surprises, like the ferocity with which they dig into the introductory "Allegro Ma Non Tanto" of the A Major, Op. 69 sonata, and the percussiveness of the following "Scherzo." But the vigor and strong interpretive commitment with which they greet even the most familiar of these works makes the listener hear with fresh ears as well, and that is one hallmark of a truly great recording.—AT