Welcome to Hyperion Records, an independent British classical label devoted to presenting high-quality recordings of music of all styles and from all periods from the twelfth century to the twenty-first.

Hyperion offers both CDs, and downloads in a number of formats. The site is also available in several languages.

Please use the dropdown buttons to set your preferred options, or use the checkbox to accept the defaults.

Click cover art to view larger version
Track(s) taken from SIGCD618

Violin Sonata No 8 in G major, Op 30 No 3


Tamsin Waley-Cohen (violin), Huw Watkins (piano)
Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
Studio Master:
Studio Master:
Recording details: September 2019
Britten Studio, Snape Maltings, Aldeburgh, United Kingdom
Produced by Nicholas Parker
Engineered by Mike Hatch & George Collins
Release date: June 2020
Total duration: 17 minutes 25 seconds

Cover artwork: Photograph © Steve Gullick.

In April 1802, on doctor’s orders, Beethoven moved to the village of Heiligenstadt just outside Vienna, where it was hoped that the rural peace would allow his hearing to recover. It very obviously didn’t work: he poured out his despair in an anguished letter to his brothers, known today as the Heiligenstadt Testament:

What a humiliation for me when someone standing next to me heard a flute in the distance and I heard nothing, or someone heard a shepherd singing and again I heard nothing. Such incidents drove me to despair; much more of that and I would have ended my life—it was only my art that held me back.

And then, within a matter of weeks, he’d written his three violin sonatas Op 30, concluding with this one: a work described by the great violinist Josep Szigeti as a work of 'conflictless perfection'. What could be more effortlessly joyful than the exuberant, whirling flourish that opens the first Allegro assai, or more sunny than the bustling sonata-form movement that follows? Or more tenderly nostalgic than the long, searching melody that opens the second movement, the violin spinning its emotions out over the stately tread of the piano’s Tempo di menuetto (itself a throwback to a gentler age)?

As for the finale, it’s as if (once again) Beethoven is channelling the rustic high-spirits of his former master Haydn, that most generous of all composers. There’s roughness, and some deliciously spicy discords—but is it possible that a man who had weeks earlier been contemplating suicide could now simply stick his tongue out and laugh? It certainly sounds that way. 'I would have ended my life', Beethoven had written in the Testament; 'it was only my art that held me back.' Few works remind us more bracingly that when Beethoven said that he lived for music, he meant it.

from notes by Richard Bratby © 2020

Waiting for content to load...
Waiting for content to load...