Aureole etc.

Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line

Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897)
Violin Sonata No. 1 in G major Op. 78 (1878-79)
Violin Sonata No. 2 in A major Op. 100 (1886)
Violin Sonata No. 3 in D minor Op. 108 (1886-88)
Elmar Oliveira (violin)
Jorge Frederico Osorio (piano)
Recorded Loho Studios, New York August 2000
ARTEK AR-0008-2 [67.29]


There must be over fifty different recordings of Brahmsí D minor Violin Sonata alone in the catalogue, beginning with Isolde Menges and Harold Samuel in 1929 (on Biddulph if you can find it though itís on an Italian pirate label as well). But thereís always room for an intelligent and tonally vibrant set, such as Oliveira and Osorio provide. In the first movement of the G major it is instructive to observe how they prefer expressive and emotive shading to more obvious metrical displacements and tempo changing. This imparts a seamlessness to their performance if perhaps at times a rather unyielding one. Osorio is on fine form in the Adagio, weighting his chords aptly and Oliveira catching the glinting, shifting profile of the violinís line. The finale is steady, Oliveira playing with soaring caution, bringing the movement to a peak of lyrical intensity at 5.30 with some dramatically urgent and opulent tonal resources. Theyíre not as taut here as the famous oft-quoted Suk-Katchen duo but are strongly convincing on their own terms.

The difficult Second (difficult because itís hard successfully to convey its sometimes elusive meaning) receives a dramatic interpretation. This is strong on luscious tonal expressivity, strongly etched and committed, a very exterior traversal. Thereís much variation of vibrato usage from Oliveira and also some pungent chording from Osorio. In the slow movement in particular Oliveira digs into considerable reserves of lavished intensity, utilising the arsenal of devices open to a tonalist of stature to inflect and deepen the line. The gracious finale still has in their hands a steady, cumulative power to it. The D minor once more exemplifies Oliveira and Osorioís drama and power-laced aesthetic in these works. The Allegro is strong and powerful, the Adagio structurally acute, Oliveira reserving emotive intensity for the optimum structural moment, which is not - pace certain well known fiddle players - too early. He manages to highlight lyric phrases adeptly and is not inclined to use his vibrato as a sauce. The third movement is elegant, wistful with just the right note of lightness and movement, the finale strong and courageous.

The acoustic can, itís true, impart some edginess to Oliveiraís tone though the balance itself is just. Fortissimi are also inclined to be steely but this is reflective as much of the strength of the performances Ė which are recommended to those who enjoy high octane Brahms sonatas.

Jonathan Woolf

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