Beethoven’s First Cello Sonata of 1797 is one of a pair written for Jean-Pierre Duport, first cellist at the Berlin court of King Friedrich Wilhelm II. Piano leads in its slow introduction, before an Allegro full of major-minor switches, and a rustic Rondo finale. Composed in 1815, No 4 in C major’s expressive Andante introduction opens in close conversation. A leaping octaves theme then ushers in the minor-keyed Allegro vivace, after which the second movement moves from an Adagio recalling the Andante to another Allegro vivace. The variations on The Magic Flute’s ‘Ein Mädchen oder Weibchen’ probably date from 1798. Sonata No 3 meanwhile dates from 1808, the same year as the Fifth and Sixth Symphonies. Its first movement opens strikingly with serene solo cello. Next comes an urgent Scherzo playing with offbeat accents, before a miniature Adagio cantabile leads to a virtuosic finale.