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.
This two-CD set is actually part of an ambitious undertaking: ESS.A.Y Recordings recorded these sonatas in two different versions, this one featuring Ms. Tenenbaum on a modern violin and accompanied by a modern piano played by Richard Kapp; the other recording (reviewed below) features Ms. Tenenbaum playing an older violin and accompanied by a harpsichord played by Gerald Ranck.
Jazz pianist Keith Jarrett has recorded Bach before, on both piano and harpsichord. His interpretations are not jazz versions of Bach but are played straight. In this case you might say relatively straight, for Bach's sonatas for violin and keyboard, BWV 1014-1019, were written for a harpsichord and are generally played that way; somehow the ear is jarred more by the piano here than in Bach's solo keyboard music (which Jarrett has also recorded). Jarrett fans will find the evidence of his characteristic style not in rhythmic inflections toward jazz but in his way of sustaining notes, which is never excessive.
Whereas most musicians seem to emphasize the music's reflective, nostalgic elements, Schneeberger and Cholette are more attuned to the abstract qualities in the music. On balance, I find that I still prefer the traditional approach, exemplified by Shannon and Fulkerson. To my ears, these artists manage to capture something wonderfully magical and mysterious that just eludes Schneeberger and Cholette. However, I should note that some critics have given high praise to this ECM disc. For example, it was awarded five stars in a BBC Music Magazine review. Another bonus: The ECM recording squeezes all four sonatas on a single disc.
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.
Of the 104 catalogued works of Joaquín Turina, just five are for violin and piano, Sonata española, 1908, Sonata No. 1 in D Op. 51, the Variaciones clásicas Op. 72, Sonata No. 2 in G Op. 82 and Homage to Navarre Op. 102, all recorded here by the violinist David Peralta Alegre with Ana Sánchez Donate at the piano. Although composed over a broad period of time, from 1908 to 1945, they are all dominated more than anything else by the savour of Andalusia and the essentially Spanish tradition, both characteristics which impregnated …………
Bacwicz'Violin Sonata No. 4 had a succesful United States premiere in 1953. The dialogue bewteen the instruments and in particular the shifting of themes (folf and non-folk alike) from violin to piano evident in this sonata distinguishes her other compositions with an interplay between groups of instruments.Throughout, this Sonata contrasts controlled romanticsim in a neoclassical framework with her signature: pulsating, forceful, driving rythms.
"Their performances are completely convincing-solid, robust, well-balanced interpretations, with exemplary rapport in phrasing and dynamics and an expert blend of the dramatic and lyrical elements". American Record Guide
Ives tried repeatedly to find a violinist with whom he could play his sonatas, but all such attempts ended in a fiasco. Ives remarked sarcastically about a rehearsal of the Violin Sonata #1 with a German violinist: "The 'Professor' came in and, after a lot of big talk, started to play the first movement of the First Sonata. He didn't even get through the first page. He was all bothered with the rhythms and the notes, and got mad. He said 'This cannot be played. It is awful. It is not music, it makes no sense.' He couldn't get it even after I'd played it over for him several times. I remember he came out of the little back music room with his hands over his ears, and said, 'When you get awfully indigestible food in your stomach that distresses you, you can get rid of it, but I cannot get those horrible sounds out of my ears.'"from ECM booklet
It seems that Ives derived a lot of pleasure from composing the four violin sonatas written during his mature period of creativity. In general, he wrote most of the "prose" for the piano and most of the "poetry" for the violin. This was one way of resolving the problems that existed in the interaction between the piano and violin. He composed in a lyrical manner, making full use of the violin's natural properties. It seems he developed an entire concept for the uniting of the two instruments. All sections of all of his sonatas, except those in the third, only give tempo indication.from BVHaast booklet