One of the most grown-up review sites around

Search MusicWeb Here
Google seem to have closed down local search engines. You can use this FreeFind engine but it is not so comprehensive
You can go to Google itself and enter the search term followed by the search term.


International mailing

  Founder: Len Mullenger             Senior Editor: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider

Piano Concertos 1 and 2
Surprise Best Seller and now

A Garland for John McCabe


DIETHELM Symphonies

The best Rite of Spring in Years

BACH Magnificat

Brian Symphs 8, 21, 26

Just enjoy it!

La Mer Ticciati




simply marvellous

Outstanding music

Elite treatment

some joyous Gershwin

Bartok String Quartets
uniquely sensitive

Cantatas for Soprano


REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers


Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949)
Violin Sonata in E flat major, Op. 18 (1887) [25:31]
Paul HINDEMITH (1895-1963)
Violin Sonata in D major, Op. 11, No. 2 (1918) [17:28]
Bohuslav MARTINŮ (1890-1959)
Sonata for two violins, H.213 (1931) [12:02]
Five Short Pieces H.184 (1929): Nos. 2 and 5 [4:49]
Louis Kaufman (violin)
Artur Balsam (piano)
Peter Rybar (violin: Martinů)
Pina Pozzi (piano: Martinů)
rec. 1952

It’s always a pleasure to see an admired artist’s old discography expand still further. It’s Louis Kaufman – liquid, emotive, expressive, a romanticist to his fingernails – who is the focus of this restoration of LP recordings made around 1952 for Concert Hall and Capitol.

First up is the Strauss sonata with the elite collaboration of Artur Balsam. This is Strauss playing as one seldom hears it today – compulsively sweeping and energised, with big-hearted, instantly communicative warmth both of tone and also of sentiment. The playing is buttressed with a quota of deft and charismatic slides. The characteristic intensity of Kaufman’s vibrato – which will not be to the tastes of the more vegetarian of listeners – adds an element of heroism to proceedings. The legato pathos and colour of the central movement, with its almost perfumed cantabile, is artfully brought out by Kaufman – though both men can and do play softly too – as is the vibrancy, and the allure, of the finale. You’d expect no less of this fiddler. The Concert Hall recording was not kind to Balsam’s piano, proving somewhat splintery in the bass in particular.

Hindemith’s Sonata Op. 11 No. 2 was recorded by the prestige Capitol label and no technical strictures need be laid, retrospectively speaking, at their door. Both men play this sonata with taut decisiveness and tart accents. Kaufman reserves that rich vibrato for the central movement but is suitably terpsichorean in the finale. It’s programmatic pleasure to continue with Martinů, in which he’s joined for the Sonata for two violins by Peter Rybar, and pianist Pina Pozzi. We’re back to a dryish Concert Hall studio set-up but not even that can impair pleasure in Kaufman and Rybar’s quicksilver dance around each other, or in their firm unison playing. Pozzi plays the decorative piano lines in the slow movement with a relish matched by the two string players who go on to dash off a finale full of verve and excitement. It’s a shame that Kaufman and Pozzi only recorded the second and fifth of the Five Pieces, H.184 but the violinist shows that the divisions between the romanticist and neo-classicist need not be as remorseless as all that - like Mischa Elman who performed the composer’s Concerto No. 2 in 1943. Kaufman brings plenty of carnal heat to this music in a way that modern-day players would probably find alarming. However, when greater linear clarity and tensile propulsion is needed, Kaufman triumphs too, as he does in the Allegro, No. 5.

With fine transfers – which couldn’t have mitigated the inherent limitations of the Concert Halls – this can be warmly recommended to admirers of the vivid art of Louis Kaufman.

Jonathan Woolf



Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on

Donate and get a free CD


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off

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: See what you will get

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