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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 2 May 2007
I recently bought this recording. I have been listening to Opus 102 played by Casals and Serkin on an old recording remastered for CD. The sound quality was quite poor and also, sorry to say, the performance was very weak. The two great players are frequently not together with piano chords falling distinctly behind by Casals in a very disconcerting manner.

The Brendel and Brendel set is superb. In the Judas Maccabeus variations you hear several lines of music, Brendel father plays with such care and attention that the inner voices sing - even the most apparently insignificant parts can suddenly add a voice. In the Opus 102 #2 sonata in D, once again, the shaping of each individual part is superb and they make of the final fugue a superbly astringent dance rather than a 'would be' Hammerklavier finale [Brendel pere knowing the Hammerklavier as he does it is clear that he is well placed to differentiate the cello and piano fugue from the great solo fugue].

As to Adrian Brendel, his tone is mellow and warm throughout with no lack of virtuosity when required. He must have a superb instrument to play on and I would love to hear him play the cello in the variations to the Opus 127 quartet with the wonderful high cello voicings. Whatever advantages he has had in the music world from his famous father must not take away from his own talent, I have rarely heard such warmth. That he plays in great sympathy with his father is I suppose unsurprising: their performance of the Adagio from Opus 102 #2 is like one long canticle, the intensity of the melisma [so reminiscent of the piano sonata Opus 101] are very finely played.
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on 10 November 2007
This version of Beethoven's extraordinary set of 5 cello and piano sonatas has been rightly praised. Brendel father and son play beautifully, in total harmony. It must be so rewarding for a father to be able to play these eternally youthful masterpieces with his son. The recording is excellent and the tone of the instruments just lovely. I did feel occasionally I needed this extra bit of momentum, the hell for leather quality that Richter and Rostropovich bring to these works, but these are admirable performances. It annoyed me a bit that the sonatas are not in their Opus number sequence, but the sets of variations are just wonderful. I have to admit that when Beethoven brings his own extraordinary twist to Papageno's tune from the Magic Flute in the concluding variation, Alfred Brendel had me chuckling with delight to myself. Inspiring.
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on 6 March 2011
I bought this endlessly fascinating recording about a year after its release in 2005 (please forgive my lack of insight!) and it has never ceased to be a source of constant joy and satisfaction... even after 6 years and countless listenings.

If anything, it has only become more precious.

The five Cello Sonatas presented here are the best I've ever heard - even trumping the very greatest from the past - and the Variations... oh, the Variations are just exquisite and gorgeous beyond measure.

I'm completely at a lose for words!

It's a fact that the truly "great" recordings are always the most difficult to review. It's NOT because of their flawlessness - far from it! - but because they just seem to dance along with such grace and abandon and unspeakable beauty that the reviewer becomes dumfounded! I am, admittedly, less than impervious to such critical shortcomings.

It almost goes without saying that I recommend these marvelous "Father & Son" recordings to you with unreserved enthusiasm...

...and I also propose a challenge:

Just TRY to listen to the 12 Variations on "See the Conqu'ring Hero Comes" from Judas Maccabaeus WITHOUT breaking into constant smiles of joy at the end of each variation... You see, I just knew you couldn't!

Even if you already own ten recordings of Beethoven's Cello Sonatas, make a special place in your library for this one. Just buy it, bask in the genius that is the family Brendel, and give thanks that you were alive when such magical music making blessed the earth!
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on 18 June 2009
I've been an admirer of Alfred Brendel since witnessing his rendition of Beethoven's Diabelli Variations at a late night concert during the Edinburgh Festival some years ago. This recording of Beethoven's works for Piano and Cello by the Brendel duo is so close-up and intimate that you feel you are actually there right in front of them. I also have the Naxos issue of this work which has been a long-term favourite of mine, but this more recent recording has become my first preference.
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on 6 December 2005
Having heard and very much enjoyed the pair in concert, I was pleased to find a CD of their collaboration was available. It lives up to my memories of their live performance.
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on 27 May 2016
I'm so disappointed having read the glowing reviews of this collection. I can't stand the unnecessary vocalisations on the recording. I would strongly discourage anyone from buying it, So upsetting and a waste of money. The playing is otherwise good, I recently tried listening to it again, maybe I had over-reacted, but there it is again spoiling the experience completely. Shocking from such a professional outfit. If only I had known.
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on 10 April 2009
This recording is fantastic. No wonder the 2008 Penguin Guide ranks it as the key recording. I first heard Adrian Brendel play when he was 14, and overheard someone commenting to his father in the audiance "Alfred, he is good! He will look after you in your old age!!" How right he was. I can thoroughly recommend this collection to oldhands and newcomers alike.
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on 8 October 2013
I certainly agree with the other reviewers about the performance in terms of musicianship, but I felt there was a distinct imbalance in the recording between 'cello and piano. At times it sounded like a sonata for piano with 'cello accompaniment! Whether this was due to inadequately placed microphones, weak bowing or simply Dad being determined not to let sonny take front stage I don't know, but there it is. To be charitable, let's say it was due to poor recording technique. Whatever the cause, this aspect spoiled it for me.
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on 5 February 2010
When I last heard Adrian play he was a schoolboy and I sat next to his father in the school audience. A flawless player even then, he is now an equal partner with his father on this disc.
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on 2 January 2015
Pure joy!
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