One of the most grown-up review sites around

2021
55,028 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here

     
  
 

 

International mailing


 
Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider

 

paid for
advertisements



TROUBADISC

100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas


FOGHORN Classics


Mozart Brahms
Clarinet Quintets


New Releases

Naxos Classical


Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10

 


Obtain 10% discount

 


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
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Postmaster
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

 

Discs for review may be sent to:
Jonathan Woolf
76 Lushes Road
Loughton
Essex IG10 3QB
United Kingdom
Ph. 020 8418 0616
jonathan_woolf@yahoo.co.uk


 

REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers

Availability

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897)
Sonata No. 1 in G major for Violin and Piano, Op. 78 (1879) [26:17]
Sonata No. 2 in A major for Violin and Piano, Op. 100 (1886) [19:28]
Sonata No. 3 in D minor for Violin and Piano, Op. 108 (1886-88) [20:51]
Georg Kulenkampff (violin)
Georg Solti (piano)
rec. January 1947 (No.1) and July 1948 (Nos 2 and 3), Radio Studio, Zurich
PRISTINE AUDIO PACM100 [66:33]

Georg Kulenkampff (1898-1948) left Germany for Switzerland in 1943 and for the remaining years of his sadly curtailed life based himself in the country. He took over Carl Flesch’s teaching position in Lucerne in 1944. However, it was to Zurich that Decca sent the experienced recording producer Victor Olof to capture the Hanseatic violinist and his piano accompanist, the then little-known Georg Solti, in Brahms’s Violin Sonata No.1. The Decca team in London must have approved. Recording engineer Rolf Liebermann had done a fine job and so the following year out went Olof again, this time with Kenneth ‘Wilko’ Wilkinson in tow, to wrap up the sonata sequence. Each sonata was released separately – this was still the day of the 78.

These sonata performances have been reissued over the years in various forms. The first time I heard them was on an Ace of Clubs LP, though they were also reissued by Richmond. Subsequent CD reissues have brought them to wider attention and now Pristine, with the use of XR re-mastering, has ventured forth with its own reissue.

Having recently reviewed a revisionist set of the sonatas that seemed to think that playing them all at a single unvaryingly fast tempo was a sensible thing to do, it has been a pleasure to return to Kulenkampff and Solti for readings of aristocratic probity. Their approach to metrics is flexible but rigorously musical. Kulenkampff could be fervid in concert as a number of live broadcasts show – the Sibelius Concerto with Furtwängler for one but Podium Legend has a raft of live material too – though in the studio there was generally a controlled and refining eloquence about his playing. The lyricism of the slow movement in the Sonata in G is especially well conveyed and his unindulgent, subtly inflected and expressive playing graces the finale with a sense of logical development. Deft portamenti were part of his arsenal though he was by and large quite a clean player in that respect. His approach to these sonatas remains lofty, vibrato noticeably increasing in both amplitude and width in the finale of the Sonata in A where both musicians judge things beautifully. Both also choose unexceptional tempi but ones that always move decisively forward, a product of an acute rhythmic sensibility, and that invokes a refined occasionally withdrawn quality. Whilst others are more superficially evocative in the slow movement of the D minor, for instance, Kulenkampff generates a quiet intensity and in the finale is full of sweep but also lyric bite.

The Second Sonata seems to have some small inherent problems regarding surface noise and it’s the one that has caused Andrew Rose the most problems in his restorations. Set against its companions, it sounds somewhat recessed sound-wise, though the tonal qualities of the two musicians still register strongly. An excellent restoration.

Jonathan Woolf
 
 

 

 



Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and keep us afloat

 

 

Recordings of the Month

March


piano music Vol 4


Charpentier


Songs of Love and Sorrow


Thomas Agerfeldt OLESEN
Cello Concerto


The female in Music

 

February

January


Linda BUCKLEY
From Ocean’s Floor