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Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

 

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Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
Violin Sonata No.8 in G, Op.30 No.3 [15’33]. Violin Sonata No.8 in G, Op.30 No.3 [15’11].
Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828)

Violin Sonata No.5 in A, D574 [19’27].
Edvard GRIEG (1843-1907)

Violin Sonata No.3 in C minor, Op.45 [22’58]
Fritz Kreisler (violin); Sergei Rachmaninov (piano)
Recorded March 22nd, 1928 (Beethoven, first performance), February 28th and March 22nd, 1928 (Beethoven, second performance, both recorded at Victor Studio No. 1, Camden, New Jersey); December 20th-21st, 1928 (Schubert, Victor Studios, New York City); September 14th-15th, 1928 (Electrola Studios, Berlin). ADD
NAXOS HISTORICAL 8.110968 [72’50]

This is a remarkable disc in many ways. The jaw-dropping rapport of two men of genius, their musicality at one in the service of the music makes for a powerful experience. The quality of Naxos’s transfers (courtesy of Mark Obert-Thorn) helps one to concentrate on the music itself.

The two performances of Beethoven’s G major Sonata, Op. 30 No. 3 comprise the officially authorised account and a what might be termed a ‘supplementary’ one constructed from sides which were approved and kept as back-ups. Interesting to compare the two. The performance of March 22nd, heard first on the present disc, is positively dripping in character. Kreisler’s double stopping in the second movement is in danger of stealing the show, if it were not for the preternaturally together ensemble. Listening to Rachmaninov negotiate the tricky piano part of the finale is a treat indeed.

It is true that some passages in the second performance of this sonata are not as together and the finale is a bit on the messy side on occasion, but this actually adds to the spontaneous effect. Whatever your preference, it is good to have the choice!

The Schubert is an altogether calmer affair, the sweet song of Kreisler’s violin lingering more in the memory than the occasional awkward passage. Of all four movements, though, it is the third, the Andantino, that receives a beautiful realisation in its depiction of Schubert’s changing moods.

The Grieg Third Violin Sonata is a marvellous work, difficult to bring off in some ways. In particular, the Romanza should be expressive but not indulgent. Kreisler and Rachmaninov, hardly surprisingly, err on the side of nostalgia, but it is nevertheless truly effective in this instance, borne along by the strength of the players’ belief in the composition itself. The finale is excitable – indeed, almost manic. This is a wonderful performance, rounding off an inspiring disc.

Colin Clarke

see also review by Leon Bosch



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