One of the most grown-up review sites around
One of the most grown-up review sites around

Search MusicWeb Here
 

 

International mailing

  Founder: Len Mullenger              Founding Editor: Rob Barnett              Contact Seen and Heard here

Some items
to consider

  • Henze Kammermusik 1958
  • Mozart Flute Quartets
  • Schubert complete piano works
  • Sammartini: 6 Concerti grossi
  • Henze Kammermusik 1958
 
Tudor



CD and Blue-ray Audio


CD and Blue-ray Audio


CPE Bach Cantatas
a revelation


Biber: Sacred Choral Works
Don't miss it


Jonathan Dove


Tommie Haglund
Unique and Powerful music


Organ Fireworks


Highly Entertaining


A triumphant performance


Bruckner Symphony 4
One of the finest I have heard


A most joy-inducing recording


A winning partnership


A Lohengrin to treasure.

 

REVIEW
Plain text for smartphones & printers


Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb



Donate and get a free CD

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical



Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Vacant
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

 

Availability
Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897)
Sonata for Cello and Piano No. 1 in E minor, Op. 38 (1862-65) [26:03]
Sonata for Cello and Piano No. 2 in F major, Op. 99 (1886) [25:37]
André Navarra (cello)
Alfred Holeček (piano)
rec. Prague, 1961
FORGOTTEN RECORDS FR 939 [51:41]

I suspect that when ‘Brahms’ is in conjunction with ‘Navarra’ the constellation must be Suk-Ančerl, and the work the Double Concerto. Those with a more exhaustive mind might also consider the Campoli-Navarra-Barbirolli axis. That Navarra was considered for both these significant recording projects attests to the respect in which he was held in this repertoire; it wasn’t all Rostropovich, Fournier and Tortelier.

But in 1961 Supraphon recorded Navarra with local pianist Alfred Holeček in the two sonatas, and these performances saw renewed life on the Eterna label. They are now excellently restored by Forgotten Records. They could hardly have picked a more experienced string-sonata collaborator. Holeček had accompanied the leading Czech fiddler of his generation, Váša Příhoda, in numerous recitals but even before that, in the early to mid-1930s he had been the travelling accompanist of Jan Kubelík, the previous reigning Czech violinist. In fact they made a series of then-unpublished recordings in London around 1934, some of which have subsequently seen the light of day. So Holeček was a perfect artist to partner Navarra. When Decca sought out Suk for the Brahms Trios they teamed him with Starker and Katchen.

Back in Prague in 1961 the duo play with great control of dynamics and build phrases with resolution. They sculpt momentum splendidly in the E minor, ratcheting tension incrementally but never too soon, sweeping onwards through arcs - though they never fail to elide the more insistent aspects of the opening movement. The Allegretto is well characterised, not least the pianist’s assured playing in the trio, and the finale has requisite momentum, animated by fine rhythmic control and good ensemble.

The companion F major sonata is, if anything, even more vividly delineated, its architecture judged splendidly. The pizzicato episode in the slow movement and the associated stalking piano figures are well realised and altogether Navarra’s control of vibrato speed and depth ensures that the music is richly eloquent. This the duo ensures without undue tempo adjustments or gestures that feel in any way false. Natural phrasing is paramount, and elegance of phrasing, too, in the finale.

The balance rather favours the cello at the expense of the piano but the ear adjusts, though never quite manages to accommodate this slight miscalculation. It’s not something Forgotten Records could rectify in their excellent transfer. For a label that primarily restores LPs it’s remarkable, given they have not had access to master tapes here, how little LP detritus one hears.

Jonathan Woolf

Prevous review: Stephen Greenbank