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Winding down Beethoven’s 250th anniversary year, this handsome reissue draws together the complete violin and cello sonatas and the last two piano trios, spanning a period from late 18th century to Waterloo (1815). All are imposingly grand, genre-defining works, in which the players are equal, conversing partners. Recorded in Teldex Berlin, the performances date from 2006-08 (Violin Sonatas), 2011 (Trios) and 2013 (Cello Sonatas).

For the Trios, Melnikov uses a restored 1828 Conrad Graf fortepiano, a luminous-toned instrument marrying well with Faust’s 1704 Strad and Queyras’ 1696 Cappa. These are powerfully committed, aristocratically imagined readings from three A-list artists at the peak of their game. Their humanity, vitality of spirit and musicianship ensure a royal harvest of richly mined jewels. Queyras brings majesty, manly emotions and long-lined poetry to the Cello Sonatas. Faust is elegantly pure yet not all sweetness, possessing an appealing tartness that runs through her upper register. Hers is a defining Violin Sonata cycle for our times, exploring mystery, pondering silence and swaggering with history’s finest. The Trios blossom gloriously, not an ordinary step anywhere.

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