Aureole etc.




Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line




Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


Some items
to consider


New App by the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra for iOS and Android!

Schumann Symphonies Rattle


Complete Brahms
Bargain price

 

REVIEW



Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Hyperion

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Alto
Arcodiva
CDAccord
Cameo Classics
Centaur
Hallé
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample
 

alternatively
CD: MDT AmazonUK AmazonUS

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897)
Sonatas for Violin and Piano
Sonata in G major Op.78 [26:15]
Sonata in A major Op.100 [20:43]
Sonata in D minor Op.108 [21:23]
Geneviève Laurenceau (violin); Johan Farjot (piano)
rec. l'Eglise de Bonsecours, Paris, 15-19 August 2010. Stereo. DDD
ZIG ZAG TERRITOIRES ZZT100802 [69:23]

Experience Classicsonline


Brahms is one of those industrious composers who seems to have condemned many of his works to undeserved obscurity just through his sheer industry. Unless you are a violinist or a Brahms aficionado, the chances are that your knowledge of his Violin Sonatas is sketchy at best. But they are great works - fine examples of the composer's later chamber music. Brahms never had any hang-ups about presenting unadorned, simple music, even in his later years. The beauty of much of this music stems from the uncluttered melodic style – a violin melody and a propulsive piano accompaniment, what more do you need? There are denser textures too, and plenty of contrapuntal episodes, although the clarity of the weave is retained in these as well.

There are similarities between these works and the Schumann Violin Sonatas. Like Schumann, Brahms has conveniently left three contributions to the genre that fit neatly onto a CD, and like those by Schumann, each sonata is a perfectly crafted chamber work. But, in an unusual reversal of their relationship, Brahms' Violin Sonatas are the more modest. They are structurally more conservative, texturally lighter, and are based primarily on melodic invention rather than integrating development.

By the later years of Brahms' career, his writing for the violin and for the piano was as proficient as that of any 19th century composer. While most of the textures in these sonatas are lucid, both players, and the violinist in particular, are being put through their paces in terms of technique. Brahms knows how to make the most of the lower end of the violin's range to create richness and depth. His use of the middle register is usually for very simple textures, which need to be straightforward without sounding naïve. On the rare occasions he ventures above the stave, it is usually for dramatic effect, to give brilliance to a climax.

Geneviève Laurenceau is at her best in the lower register. All those rich, flowing passages on the G string come across magnificently, and her precision with the tuning of double-stopping in the lower register is faultless. The simple mid-range textures also come across well, thanks in part to her vibrato, which she is able to reduce to the point where it is barely perceptible for those plain melodic expositions. I'm less impressed by the high passages, which bring out a slightly unpleasant edge in her tone. As I say, Brahms rarely ventures up there anyway.

Johan Farjot is a sympathetic pianist, always alert to the soloist’s changes of tempo and mood, both the subtle gradations and the immediate shifts. In general, he leaves all the drama to her and never competes for the limelight. That apparent subservience may in part be a result of the recording balance that favours the violin over the piano. That isn't usually a problem, but it can sometimes give the impression that the recording engineer knows better than either the composer or the performers how the instruments should interact. Whenever Brahms writes high pianissimo chords in the piano accompanying the violin in mid-range, the piano seems very distant indeed. And given the discretion of the violin playing in these passages, the intervention at the mixing desk is unnecessary.

In general, though, this is a good recording, and is worth hearing simply for the quality of the violin playing. Brahms' chamber music repertoire contains many works that are more ambitious and involving than these, but it is a real strength of these performances that the players don't try to make more of the music than the notes on the page can justify.

Gavin Dixon


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


EXPLORE MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL

Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews

 

Discographies
   Composer
      Composer surveys
   National
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
.
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

Interviews
With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site

Nostalgia

Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Comment
Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure

Announcements

 

Community
Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Reviewers
Pat and present

Helpers invited!

Resources
How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips


Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Publishers
Other links
Newsgroups
Web News sites etc

PotPourri
A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Questionnaire    
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Dictionary
Magazines
Newsfeed  
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools






Untitled Document


Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.