In this micro blog, the American cellist shares his recent inspiration regarding the first two bars of a piece he has been playing for decades

Lynn Harrell


I just wanted to share with you something about Beethoven’s Third Cello Sonata, in A major: I’ve made a little discovery. We play and study and practise these great sonatas over and over and over again, and we keep finding new, tiny little things – only tiny things, because there isn’t much left to discover!

You see, the first two notes are slurred, and then there’s a repeat sign. Afterwards the slur starts on the F sharp and goes for seven notes, until the fourth bar. Many people use two bows for this.


Now, the break in the slur between the second note and the third note is only because of the double bar. When the piano plays the same material a few bars later, after the fermata, the whole line is under a long legato. I have now tried playing the first three or four notes of the cello part legato, and it’s really quite ridiculous: it sounds much better.

Lynn Harrell is producing a masterclass for The Strad’s January 2019 issue on Beethoven’s Fourth Sonata, op.102 no.1