Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770 - 1827)
Sonatas for violin and piano: No. 4 in A minor, Op. 23 [23:40]; No. 5 in F major, Op. 24 [24:13]; No. 8 in G major, Op. 30 No. 3 [16:47]
Ivo Stankov (violin), Ivan Donchev (piano)
rec. no details of date or location supplied
GEGA NEW GR 18 [60:52]
The violin sonatas by Beethoven bar No. 10 are relatively early works
and the Bulgarian duo Ivo Stankov and Ivan Donchev play all three
sonatas here with a light touch - youthful could be the collective
header for the disc.
The first movement of the A minor sonata is playfully lyrical and
the interplay in the development between the violin and the piano’s
left and right hand is gracious. The Andante scherzoso with
its fugal writing is utterly elegant and in the tricky Rondo
finale both players radiate hundreds of joules of energy. Is the piano
too loud occasionally? Maybe a mite but it is hard to tell whether
this is due to the playing or the recording balance.
The Spring sonata was published at the same time as its predecessor
in 1801 and here we meet Beethoven at his sunniest. Accordingly the
playing is also on the sunny side of the street. The Allegro
is joyful and energetic and full of light. It is tempting to unbutton
the overcoat even though we are at the end of October and the days
grow shorter as I write this. The Adagio is just as warm and
inward as Beethoven would have liked it. The ultra-short Scherzo
just whirls past like a bewildered early butterfly on the first day
of spring. The concluding Rondo is played with such infectious
joie de vivre that one can imagine even Beethoven raising one
of his rare smiles.
The G major sonata, the third in the Op. 30 set, was published in
May 1803 and is dedicated to Tsar Alexander I of Russia. The playing
of the first movement is light and lively. The minuet second movement
is marked molto moderato e grazioso and ‘grazioso’
is indeed the buzz-word in Stankov and Donchev’s reading. This
is one of Beethoven’s loveliest movements. The last one, Allegro
vivace, is rather boisterous with scherzo character - even
though Beethoven doesn’t say so - and it is played with tongue-in-cheek.
The recording is good, even though - at least on my equipment - the
piano is reproduced more smoothly and beautifully than the violin.
Strangely enough I got the opposite impression when playing some parts
of the disc on my portable equipment, a Sony Walkman with high-end
Never mind, this is a refreshing disc and I hope to hear more of this
duo - why not more Beethoven?