Itzhak Perlman's '70s recordings with Vladimir Ashkenazy resulted in one of the finest Kreutzer Sonata performances ever recorded. At this live 1998 recital, Perlman is joined by another piano great, Martha Argerich, on that very piece along with Franck's Violin Sonata. Though the two powerhouses haven't recorded together before, they prove to be both sympathetic and intuitive partners. By now, we've come to expect Argerich to steal the show with her brute force and passionate playing, but Perlman's lyricism throughout the first two Beethoven movements is the real highlight. (It's not that Argerich is being tepid; the room's acoustics and microphones just favor the violinist.) On Franck's Violin Sonata, the duo fare even better. Argerich and Perlman sound like they've been playing together forever, and the music's melancholic, but playful poetry really comes into focus. All told, a memorable live performance by two classical greats.
Among the many genres Beethoven used to build on his reputation upon his arrival in Vienna, the violin sonatas allowed him not only to demonstrate his own prowess on the keyboard, but also played to the increasing popularity of chamber works that might be attempted by sophisticated amateurs. Following Mozart's trend of liberating the violin from a mere secondary role, Beethoven continued to bring about the equality of both instruments in all of his duo sonatas. Performing these 10 sonatas is the splendid duo of violinist Renaud Capuçon and pianist Frank Braley. The recordings take place in la Chaux de Fonds concert hall in Switzerland, a venue that offers listeners an exceptionally wonderful, intimate sound quality even on a CD.
Albanian-born, Geneva-based violinist Tedi Papavrami has not only fashioned a major international career on the concert stage, but has had success as an actor, notably in France. That said, his focus remains on music, both as a performer and teacher. Papavrami has concertized across Europe, Israel, Turkey, and Japan, and appeared as soloist with such orchestras as the Orchestre de Paris, the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, and the Bamberger Symphony.
This three-CD set showcases Beethoven's most famous Violin Sonatas in multiple performances by some of the 20th century's greatest violin/piano duos. A virtual master class in Golden Age interpretation, this collection features three performances of the "Spring" Sonata and four of the "Kreutzer" Sonata, ranging from Georg Kulenkampff and Wilhelm Kempff's "Kreutzer" in 1935 to Nathan Milstein and Arthur Balsam's "Spring" in 1950. The set also includes the celebrated 1940 "Kreutzer" performance at the Library of Congress by Joseph Szigeti and Bela Bartók. To recapture the magic of these performances for a new century, rare, pristine 78s were transferred and 24-bit digitally remastered using the state-of-the-art CAP 440 technique.
Dumay and Pires have made some outstanding recordings.. and this new set of Beethoven's complete works in the same genre.. belongs among the very best available.
Make no mistake, this is chamber music playing of the first order, and a major contribution to the Beethoven discography–a set to be savored and enjoyed many times over
Period-instrument performances of Beethoven's violin sonatas aren't too common; they pose thorny problems of balance even beyond the question of whether Beethoven wouldn't have preferred modern instruments if he could have had them. But this superbly musical set by violinist Midori Seiler, playing an Italian Baroque violin of unknown manufacture, and fortepianist Jos van Immerseel, on a copy of an entirely appropriate Viennese Walter piano, may well redefine the standard for these works.