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The violin player Leonidas Kayakos, the cello player Yo-Yo Ma and the piano player Emanuel Ax-the album‘Beethoven for Three’-CD Review, 2nd – 3rd of May 2022

Thursday, 13 October 2022 , ora 10.10

The album Beethoven for Three was released on the 4th of March 2022, at the Sony Classical record label. It was recorded by three of the most famous musicians in the world-the pianist Emanuel Ax, the violinist Leonidas Kavakos and the cellist Yo-Yo Ma, each of them with their own distinct career, as soloists as well as in chamber music ensembles, having remarkable discographic achievements. The three musicians have collaborated in the past as well-Emanuel Ax and Yo-Yo Ma have been playing together for over 50 years, they have won two Grammys together and in 2021 they released a special album with the Sonatas for cello and piano written by Ludwig van Beethoven. As to Leonidas Kavakos, he joined the two aforementioned musicians in 2017 for the recording of the Piano Trios by Johannes Brahms. Hence, Emanuel Ax, Leonidas Kavakos and Yo-Yo Ma form an experienced homogeneous and exquisite trio, qualities that we can admire while listening to their recent album. This record erases the borders between orchestral and chamber music, by presenting two of Ludwig van Beethoven's emblematic symphonies-no 2 and no 5, in trio arrangements with piano that maintain the force and the brilliant characteristic of the orchestral musical pieces written by the great classical composer. The album carries us back to the 19th century, when the public of the aristocratic salons was used to the transcriptions of Beethoven's symphonies for different instrumental ensembles.

This record has been promoted through a tour in the United States of America, on prestigious stages in New York, Chicago, Washington and Boston. The event was successful and the publications in the field praised the "musical dream team" as the ensemble composed of Leonidas Kavakos, Yo-Yo Ma and Emanuel Ax have been called. Of course, the interpretation of Beethoven's monumental symphonies using only three instruments is difficult and challenging and it captures the richness of ideas in the creative process of the composing genius as well. "The idea of being able to play the beginning of the Symphony no 5 brings an incredible emotion. By playing this score you learn a lot about the way in which Beethoven combined the control over his writing with lyrism" says the pianist Emanuel Ax.

Larisa Clempuș
Translated by Ioana Busuioc,
University of Bucharest, Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures, MTTLC, year II
Corrected by Silvia Petrescu