Claudia Pritchard
The Independent on Sunday
February 2014

Beethoven’s five cello sonatas span his three creative periods and some 20 years, from youthful anarchy to mature intellectual complexity. They briefly sum up a dazzling career, but in the hands of the British cellist Steven Isserlis, a great champion of these pieces, here accompanied on fortepiano by Robert Levin, they jump off the musical history page with an irresistible energy and then dance about the room.

The boisterous Op 5 Nos 1 and 2, which won the composer a snuffbox from Prussia’s King Friedrich Willem II, the calmer "middle" sonata and the economical, late Op 102 Nos 1 and 2 are given a full-blooded reading, Levin’s fortepiano playing lends frankness, high colour and tenderness by turn.