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Four Violin Sonatas D384,408, 385 & 574; Fantasie D934; Arpeggione Sonata D821
Szymon Goldberg (violin) with Radu Lupu (piano); Maurice Gendron (cello) with Jean Francaix (piano)
Decca 466 748-2 [119.24]
 Amazon UK 

A complete delight and a nostalgic trip too. Szymon Goldberg's inspiring and perceptive master classes made an enduring impression at Dartington Summer School long ago, a year when Stravinsky & Lionel Tertis were amongst the distinguished visitors. I never forgot him thrusting open the piano lid and telling the accompanist (Susan Bradshaw, later a well known writer on Russian music) that its tone should never be boxed by using the short stick; a violin can cope with the tone of a grand piano and it is for the players to achieve proper balance.

Schubert's four sonatas were variously published as sonatinas and duo by Diabelli for commercial reasons, a successful ploy to not frighten off amateur purchasers. Goldberg has a refined, somewhat thin tone, sparing with vibrato, and occasionally you hear the bow almost losing contact with the string. A very personal tone quality, no excess or 'gloss' - Goldberg would have fitted into the 'authentic' baroque style of today easily. There is a simplicity in his interpretation which is completely apt for these unpretentious pieces, which have remained popular with chamber music players if less often featured in public recitals. I have a particular affection for the G minor, which I played in competition as a schoolboy, and the A major, with its expansive first movement, one of Schubert's loveliest. The 25 minute Fantasie has a set of variations on the song Sei mir gegrusst, delicious! Lupu is the perfect partner always in these 1978 recordings.

The fill-up is a persuasive performance of the Arpeggione sonata (mono, from 1952) is played in a comparably unaffected manner by the fine French cellist Maurice Gendron and composer Jean Francaix.

A delectable Double Decca to grace anyone's collection.

Peter Grahame Woolf


Peter Grahame Woolf

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