Emanuel Ax, Leonidas Kavakos, and Yo-Yo Ma's new recording, Beethoven for Three: Symphony No. 6 “Pastorale” and Op. 1, No. 3, is out now on Sony Classical.
Like the first Beethoven for Three release—Symphonies Nos. 2 & 5— this recording challenges the traditional boundary between chamber and orchestral repertoire to offer the listener two very different sides of the composer using the same three voices. In the C Minor piano trio, we hear Beethoven’s brilliant exploration of three instruments’ essential expressive capabilities; in the Pastorale, lovingly reimagined for trio by Shai Wosner, the piano, violin, and cello transcend their own identities to represent the endless creativity of the natural world, becoming, in turn, bird, brook, and storm. Like the first Beethoven for Three release, this recording continues a musical conversation between three friends while offering audiences a rare and intimate look at Beethoven's evolution as a composer.
The Beethoven for Three series features three artists in pursuit of the essential elements of Beethoven's musical language, presenting Beethoven's most iconic symphonies in intimate arrangements that maintain the power and immediacy of his orchestral works. By performing the symphonies on three instruments alongside the composer’s canonical piano trios, the artists present a wealth of insight about both Beethoven and his earliest audiences.
Beyond its historical precedent, Beethoven for Three also presents a new opportunity for performers and listeners to reappraise the boundaries between musical genres, and reenvision how musicians can collaborate freely and creatively.