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Beethoven Cello                                      9th Nov 2020 The Bear Club Map

This is the first of a three concert survey of Beethoven’s five sonatas for cello and piano. This duo of Karel Bredenhorst and Simon Callaghan is presenting the works in mixed recitals which will give a fine sense of the enduring legacy of this extraordinary repertoire.

The sonata in G is one of the Op 5 pair that was dedicated to the King of Prussia Friedrich Wilhelm II, a keen music-lover and amateur cellist. It is understandably therefore something of a celebration of the instrument, the cello part now becoming more prominent than ever before. Written in Berlin in 1796 when the composer was 25, the sonata is from Beethoven’s early period and typically therefore contains much brilliant writing for the piano. More radical was his liberation of the cello part from its subservient role providing a bass line, the stringed instrument now becoming much more of a partner in advancing the musical argument. Radical too is the form of this three movement work, which opens most untypically with a slow, exquisitely beautiful Adagio.

The recital begins with a Bach sonata for viola da gamba, suggesting something of the historical context of the Beethoven composed 60 years later. Then with the Rachmaninov sonata, written 100 years after the Beethoven, we can hear how that earlier essay initiated the argument that resulted in this ultimate flowering of passionate Romanticism.

Johann Sebastian Bach – Sonata for Violo da Gamba and Harpsichord No.2 in D BWV 1028

Ludwig van Beethoven – Sonata in G minor Op 5 No.2

Frederic Chopin – Polonaise in C Op 3 (arr. Feuermann)

Sergei Rachmaninov – Sonata in G minor Op 19

Simon Callaghan (piano)



Karel Bredenhorst (cello)