Beethoven: Sonata for cello & piano Op. 102, No. 2
Jonathan Miller – cello, Randall Hodgkinson – piano
The Opus 102 cello and piano sonatas from 1815 mark the beginning of Beethoven’s Late Period. He proudly called the C Major, No.1 his “free” Sonata. This D major sonata, wildly energetic and tender, is no less so: different thematic material from the first movement, including the opening bars and more cantabile passages later on, make altered appearances in the last movement.
Each musical gesture is essential, and each note crucial in this concentrated masterpiece, with its unexpected harmonic turns. It is the only Beethoven cello sonata with an entire slow movement, an eloquent and profound searching testament.
The last movement is a fugue, which anticipates the counterpoint of the Hammerklavier Piano Sonata and the Grosse Fugue. The listener will find nothing academic or dry about the fugue — it is charming, triumphant, and to my ears, sometimes almost nostalgic.
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Please stay tuned for a new concert next month.
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