The Second Symphony is arranged by Ferdinand Ries (1784-1838), pupil of and secretary to Beethoven, and a prolific composer in his own right. Opus 36 transcribes well, whether the propulsive outer movements or the highlight that is the lyrical serenade-like slow one. Overall Messrs Ax, Kavakos & Ma are ideal of tempo and genial interaction; it’s all very enjoyable, although the cello isn’t always the equal of the other instruments, which is not a criticism of the excellent recorded sound (August 2021, Seiji Ozawa Hall, Boston).

On paper, Beethoven’s Fifth would seem a less obvious choice for chamber transcription. It’s recent, by Colin Matthews, who told me (by email): “The Beethoven was an extraordinary project, something I would never have expected to do. But when Manny Ax, Yo-Yo Ma and Leonidas Kavakos ask for something you don’t say no!”. It’s a skilled piece of work from Matthews, which brings greater presence from Ma – his beautifully expressive playing at the beginning of the second movement is notable (and the group’s approach to Andante con moto is spacious), with the outer movements (repeats observed) judicious of speed, particularly embracing what can be grandeur in the Finale – during which aspects of the latter’s orchestration, such as piccolo and trombones, are of course not to be heard – but the musicians bring heft and intensity to their play throughout.

Maybe we’re going to get a Beethoven Symphony-piano trio cycle from these friends, for just the other day in Carnegie Hall they included Shai Wosner’s new version of the ’Pastoral’ Symphony. Meanwhile 2 & 5 are on Sony Classical 19439940142. The booklet, mine anyway, is without written notes if not artists’ photos.

Ries’s E-flat Septet, Opus 25 (1808) for clarinet, two horns, violin, cello, bass & piano. Recording by Linos Ensemble.

Colin Matthews’s Horn Concerto (2001), recorded by Richard Watkins with the Hallé & Mark Elder.