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.
HISTORICAL RECORDINGS · MONO · RECORDED IN *1930 & 1934 NEW REMASTERING FROM ORIGINAL MASTERS IN 24-BIT / 96KHZ BY STUDIO ART ET SON, PARIS. “You simply have to hear Huberman’s recording,” wrote Gramophone of this incandescent 1934 interpretation of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto. At the age of 14 Huberman, born in Poland in 1882, had dazzled Brahms with his playing. The prodigy went on to become both a towering violinist and a committed humanitarian activist, rescuing musicians from Nazi Germany to form the future Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. Completing this newly remastered Beethoven disc, Huberman is partnered in the Kreutzer Sonata by another legendary Polish-born musician, Ignaz Friedman.
Made during the late Sixties and early Seventies, this iconic recording of Beethoven's duos and piano trios brings together three of the world's finest musicians: Zukerman, Barenboim and du Pre. The compilation reveals the players' intent on extracting the ultimate in expression; also featuring a live performance of Tchaikovsky's A minor Trio, it's combination of youthful exuberance and interpretative flair remains undiminished.
Daishin Kashimoto, a Japanese national born in London who studied at the Juilliard when barely in long trousers, started prodigiously young – he gave his first full recital aged nine and has scooped most of the world's top violin prizes. Today he is first concertmaster of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. He also has a lively career as soloist and chamber musician. His clean, elegant tone and peerless accuracy suit these Beethoven sonatas, requiring digital precision in, say, the early "classical" Op 12 set or the witty, tail-chasing Scherzo of the C minor, Op 30 No 2. In contrast he easily embraces the big-boned ambitions of the Kreutzer Sonata Op 47, never sounding forced. Konstantin Lifschitz is a sympathetic, alert partner, even if the recording seems to favour the violin perhaps more than Beethoven would have expected. But the musicianship is never in question.
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. The sonatas were recorded at different times in the late 2000s decade, and some were issued separately, but all were very nicely recorded in the chamber music hall of the Luxembourg Philharmonie, and they are very much a set. The joys of these recordings run across all three discs (the ordering of the sonatas was done merely in order to fit the complete program onto three), and they come from both players as well as from the interaction between the two.
Beethoven wrote ten sonatas for piano and violin, the best known of which are the "Spring" and the "Kreutzer" sonatas. The fame of these two works has tended to result in neglect of the remaining sonatas. This is unfortunate because Beethoven's remaining eight sonatas for piano and violin include much great music. The set of 10 works is of an appropriate size to warrant exploration of the entire group for those with a passion for the violin or for Beethoven. It includes an appealing mix of familiar and unfamiliar music.
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.