Following up on her acclaimed Pentatone recording of Bach’s Six Unaccompanied Cello Suites in 2020, this spring Alisa Weilerstein—also the subject of a May 2022 Gramophone cover story—is joined by her longtime recital partner, pianist Inon Barnatan, for a new album of Beethoven’s complete Cello Sonatas, works that have been a staple of the duo’s repertoire since they began performing together in 2008. After a digital release on May 6, the physical album will be released in June.
Longtime friends and collaborators, Weilerstein and Barnatan recorded their first album together—comprising cello sonatas by Rachmaninov and Chopin—in 2015, and most recently the cellist appeared on Barnatan’s 2019 recording of Beethoven’s Triple Concerto, part of his complete set of Beethoven concertos on Pentatone. As Gramophone said of the duo after the release of their debut album together: “It’s a bold musician who dares to duet with Alisa Weilerstein. So much is out of the question: complacency, clichés, safety nets. … Inon Barnatan fits the bill … it’s hard to imagine many cellist-pianist duos more mutually fond of risk-taking.”
Composed over a span of nearly twenty years, Beethoven’s five cello sonatas provide a fascinating snapshot of the composer’s stylistic development. Weilerstein explains:
“Diving into the formidable project of recording these touchstone works with Inon, especially at such a fragile, chaotic time, was an immensely rewarding experience. I feel incredibly lucky to have been able to go on this unique adventure with such a wonderful partner and friend, and I invite you to join us in our celebration of this profoundly moving music.”
For Barnatan, the cello sonatas are the perfect reflection of his partnership with Weilerstein:
“As we move toward the third sonata and beyond, the cello and piano become … truly equal partners. This equal partnership is a central aspect of how Alisa and I make music together, and all five sonatas have been a part of our musical journey together from the very beginning. We love their beauty, their sense of adventure, and the way they communicate directly but with intricacy and complexity.”