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.
Actually, there is a considerable amount of available versions in the market. But just a few possess the radiant sense of expression of Beethovenian pathos. Many connoted interpreters mistakenly play Beethoven just remarking the Romantic mood, without going deep inside the score, and overlooking the fact the genius simply cannot be labeled.
Ultimate Violin Classics: The Essential Masterpieces would be an appropriate title for this five-disc set of performances taken from EMI's archives, if it weren't for the word "The." These are certainly many of the greatest works for violin, but there are too many obvious omissions - solos by Bach, concertos by Bach, Vivaldi, Beethoven, Brahms, to name just a few - for this to be considered a definitive collection of violin masterpieces. The collection is diverse: sonatas by Beethoven; concertos by Mozart, Mendelssohn, and Bruch; and many small encore-type works for violin and piano.
60 CD box set. Selection of Ludwig Van Beethoven works recorded by David Zinman & Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich (Symphonies), Yefim Bronfman, David Zinman & tonhalle Orchestra Zurich (Piano concertos), Pinchas Zuckerman & Marc Neikrug (Violin Sonatas), Anner Bylsma & Jon Van Immerseel (Cello Sonatas), Seraphin Trio (Piano Trios), Alexander String Quartet (String Quartets), Yukio Yokoyama, Robert Casadesus, Justus Frantz, Vladimir Horowitz, Gerhard Oppitz & Charles Rosen (Piano Sonatas), Eugene Ormandy & Philadelphia Orchestra (Christ On The Mount Of Olives), Wolfdieter Maurer & Tokyo Oratorio Society (Mass in C Major), David Zinman & Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich (Missa Solemnis) and many other great artists.
There are two really famous Beethoven violin sonatas, the Kreutzer and the Spring. The Kreutzer Sonata inspired the story by Leo Tolstoy, which in turn became the subject of Janácek's First String Quartet, so if you're into comparative studies in the arts, there's a thesis topic for you! The Spring Sonata was featured in Woody Allen's Love and Death, among other places. And perhaps most intriguingly of all, the scherzo of the late sonata, Op. 96, turns up quite clearly in the third movement of Mahler's Second Symphony.
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.