Schubert sonatas

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Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
Sonata for piano and violin in G major, Op.96 (1812) [19:21]
Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828)

Fantasia for piano and violin in C major "Sei mir gegrüsst" D 934 (Op. posth. 159) (1827) [29:31]
Sei mir gegrüsst, D 741 (Op.20, No.1) (1822) [3:56]
Liza Ferschtman (violin), Inon Barnatan (piano)
rec. 13-15 September 2006, Suny Purchase Collage, New York, USA. DDD

This disc is a delight. You do not need to read the liner-notes to discover that Liza Ferschtman and Inon Barnatan have been playing together for some time. You can hear it. Their playing has that rare combination of freshness and unanimity, as though two like minded friends are conversing about something dear to their hearts. This is more than mere technical polish. This is soulful, musical playing.

Their reading of the Beethoven sonata breathes an unforced lyricism. Ferschtman and Barnatan find so much sunshine in this work that it is impossible to listen to their performance without smiling. Ferschtman is adept at colouring a phrase without drawing attention to her technique, and Barnatan coaxes some lovely dew-drop sounds from his keyboard. Highlights are impossible to pin-point. From the gentle glitter of the first movement to the songful introspection of the second; from the archness of the scherzo - usually more brusque, but utterly charming here - to the sheer fun of the variations in the last movement, this is a treasurable performance.

The Schubert Fantasia is similarly conceived, with Ferschtman and Barnatan dancing daintily through Schubert's substantial score. They find a hushed eloquence in the opening section, produce vivacious interplay in the perky dance section and make much of the contrasts in the variations before the conclusion. Their concentration binds this piece together beautifully.

As a pendent, the duo offer a sensitive and affectionate reading of the song on which the Fantasia draws, Ferschtman's violin replacing the voice but offering a comparable range of expression.

The musicians contribute a co-authored set of liner notes in English, Dutch, German and French, which comment on the music helpfully and from a personal perspective.

I had never heard of either of these musicians before this disc arrived for review. I have the utmost regard for them now and urge you to hear this disc for yourself.

Tim Perry


Gerard Hoffnung CDs

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Editorial Board
Classical Editor
Rob Barnett
Seen & Heard
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   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Stan Metzger
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
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