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 …………
Resphigi's Violin Sonata is a challenging work. The sonata is cast in three movements, the first of which, marked Moderato – Agitato – Tempo I, is haunting in its passionate, quasi-nocturnal main theme given by the violin. Because Respighi was both a violinist and pianist, the writing for the two instruments is deftly wrought here and throughout the work in its exchanges and blending of sonorities. The middle panel is a lovely Andante espressivo that opens with an extended piano solo. The finale is a passacaglia marked Allegro moderato ma energico. It is a dramatic and powerful piece whose stormy main theme yields both profound and colorful music.
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