Emanuel Ax, Leonidas Kavakos, and Yo-Yo Ma’s new recording, Beethoven for Three: Symphony No. 6 “Pastorale” and Op. 1, No. 3, was released on November 11, 2022 on Sony Classical.

Listen here.

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. It contrasts Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6 “Pastorale”—appearing in a specially commissioned arrangement by Shai Wosner—with his Piano Trio in C minor, Op. 1, No. 3. Heard together, these two pieces showcase vastly different sides of Beethoven through the shared language of the piano trio. Written in Vienna when Beethoven was 25 years old, with his first symphony still five years away, Op. 1 No. 3 captures his transition from a virtuoso pianist to a composer in his own right. In contrast, Symphony No. 6 features Beethoven in his prime, making space for something more lyrical and cinematic between the obsessiveness of Symphonies Nos. 5 and 7.

Beethoven for Three: Symphony No. 6 “Pastorale” and Op. 1, No. 3
Emanuel Ax, Leonidas Kavakos, and Yo-Yo Ma

Symphony No. 6 in F Major, Op. 68, “Pastorale”
I. Allegro ma non troppo, “Awakening of cheerful feelings on arriving in the countryside”
II. Andante molto mosso, “Scene by the brook”
III. Allegro, “Joyful gathering of countryfolk”
IV. Allegro, “The storm”
V. Allegretto, “Shepherd’s song. Thanksgiving after the storm”

Piano Trio No. 3 in C Minor, Op. 1, No. 3
I. Allegro con brio
II. Andante cantabile con variazioni
III. Menuetto. Quasi allegro
IV. Finale. Prestissimo

January 24: Davis, CA – Jackson Hall
January 25: Berkeley, CA – Zellerbach Hall
January 27: Santa Barbara, CA – Granada Theater
January 28: Los Angeles, CA – Walt Disney Hall
March 18: Philadelphia, PA – Verizon Hall
March 19: Newark, NJ – NJPAC