On June 4, Yo-Yo Ma and long-time musical partner Emanuel Ax released Hope Amid Tears on Sony Classical. The album features Beethoven’s complete works for cello and piano. By presenting all five of Beethoven’s cello sonatas in the order in which they were composed, followed by his three sets of variations, it traces an important arc in Beethoven’s development as a composer.

Yo-Yo and Ax have made music together for over 40 years. They’ve performed together on stages all over the world and have recorded many albums together, earning five Grammy Awards. Their friendship is not only rooted in a deep love of music, but also a shared sense of humor and keen perspectives on life. Hope Amid Tears is their second recording of the complete Beethoven’s cello sonatas. Their first was released in 1987 and earned the duo their second Grammy.

“It has been a true privilege to live with this music for over forty years,” writes Ax. “Each time that Yo-Yo and I have come back to work on these sonatas and variations, we have found new meaning and new ways of realizing the notes on the page. Fortunately for us, there are so many ways of experiencing them, and finally the music itself is so uplifting that every attempt, whether good or bad, is a joy. I hope we can share with you our awe for Beethoven and our deep love for his vision.”

Hope Amid Tears is now available.