Beethoven

Lucy Russell is more usually heard these days as the first violin of the Fitzwilliam Quartet so it’s good to hear her solo and in period instrument guise – she’s also Professor of baroque violin at the RCM. There is an awful lot right with this recording of early sonatas. Their essential domesticity comes through in the balance between the period instruments; nobody is trying to project to the back of a concert hall, just to somewhere the other side of the drawing room in a modest aristocratic mansion. Russell and Seskir are crisp with the music but do not bully it…

Beethoven

Composers conducting other composers’ work always adds a layer to our understanding of the music, perhaps because they are perfectly capable of taking the score apart and reworking it, rather like a formula one car designer. They rarely do, of course, when they are conducting unless they are making new arrangements, but they seem to have a way of emphasising different details and pointing to undiscovered aspects of orchestration than conductors who don’t write their own stuff…

Beethoven

This completes Elizabeth Sombart’s three disc cycle of the Beethoven piano concertos recorded in the superb acoustic of London’s Cadogan Hall, which allows the balance between the piano and orchestra to remain natural. It also emphasises that, despite the grandiosity of the Emperor, the orchestra is large chamber rather than heavy-weight symphonic size, giving an intimacy that Vallet exploits well…

Beethoven

Ronald Brautigam is no stranger to these concertos, having recorded them both on the modern piano and its historical equivalent. In this latest recording he uses two copies of instruments contemporary with the time of composition made by the American builder, Paul McNulty, in his country workshop in the Czech Republic…