96kHz/24-bit FLAC, Harmonia Mundi HMC 902183.84 (supplied by www.eclassical.com)

Early, middle and late period sonatas are prefaced by the three sets of variations on this release, complementary to the violin sonatas with Faust/Melnikov [HFN Yearbook 2010, ‘Album Choice’]. It should appeal to those unable to come to terms with the use of fortepiano in the Isserlis/Levin Hyperion cycle. Although Melnikov played a Graff fortepiano in Beethoven trios with Faust/Queyras [HFN Oct ’14], here he exploits the full dynamic range and colour of a modern grand while scrupulously observant of score markings. The cellist produces a rather dry, clean sound – even in Op.105:1 and 2 you are aware that Beethoven gives the ‘lion’s share’ to the piano! In the Op.69 scherzo both players sound all the tied notes as ‘echoes’ (a point much debated). With close sound in perfect balance these recordings are an absolute joy to hear. CB

Sound Quality: 95%

Hi-Fi News Lab Report

This is a refreshingly true and clean 96kHz/24-bit recording with piano harmonics extending a little beyond 10kHz and the cello almost up to 30kHz before decaying into a very quiet noise floor, free of digital spuriae. PM