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Beethoven’s output for fortepiano and violoncello is fascinating because it covers every period of his career, from early to late, with references to Bach in op.69 and op.102 no.2 and an especially innovative and amazingly modern musical language. For this complete set, which includes the variations on themes from Handel’s Judas Maccabaeus and Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, Nicolas Altstaedt was keen to record on an instrument with gut strings, a Guadagnini from Piacenza dated 1749, and using a Classical bow. Alexander Lonquich, his faithful recital partner – they been inseparable companions since the day Altstaedt replaced his teacher Boris Pergamenschikow for a concert of Beethoven sonatas with Lonquich at the Beethovenfest in Bonn in 2004 – here plays a Graf fortepiano of 1826. The combination of these instruments produces a finely balanced sound and exceptional tone colours. This recording is Nicolas Altstaedt’s first for Alpha as a soloist. Others will follow, in very different genres, for eclecticism is the hallmark of this musician, among the most promising of the new generation.

Supersonic PIZZICATO award