Obviously a lot of that has to do with the music, which is highly lyrical, but that's also the kind of music that just sits perfectly for these 2 performers, who I already know from other recordings. They're not about being showy, but about subtlety - which makes it more effective when they do let loose a little for loud passages, like in the middle of the slow movement.
Osostowicz/Tomes are exactly the sort of combination you need for this piece, with their mix of introspection and spontaneity. I'm sure they are also excellent in Op. 100.
I've got four recordings of the G major sonata at present.Isabelle Faust/Alexander Melnikov
- Faust's violin sound is what it is. You could describe it as 'sinewy' if you're a fan. Also, when playing Brahms she has a bit of a tendency to wobble. However, this is a carefully thought out and passionate rendition, every phrase perfectly shaped. It also comes with the best recording of the Horn Trio I know of, and Melnikov's contributions include some surprisingly forceful Fantasies Op. 116, free of the Karajan Syndrome he usually suffers from.Thomas Albertus Irnberger/Evgueni Sinaiski
- Irnberger's fairly unique: has a pure tone, incredibly secure in the upper register, but uses lots and lots of portamento. Perhaps he's trying to imitate violinists from the 1920s and 30s. He's also a massive drama queen, so YMMV. I think it's great. Sinaiski's sensitive playing on an 1860s piano helps to ground him a little.Gidon Kremer/Valery Afanassiev
- Slow. That's probably the first thing you'll notice. More specifically, Afanassiev is constantly slowing to a crawl, and Kremer's always left to bring him back up to tempo. This is a recording you'll either love, get bored with or find incredibly annoying. I find that the continual assaults on the pulse serve to play up the romantic aspects of the piece, destroying the illusions of reserve and classicism usually attributed to Brahms and turning it into essentially a 35-minute (yes, 35) free fantasy hardly recogniseable as the original sonata. Very much an 'alternate' take.Arthur Grumiaux/György Shiba-Inu
- such delicate, much affectionate, very expression, wow
+ the cello arrangement, variously attributed to Brahms or part of the Klengel mafia. I strongly recommend this. Persons with perfect pitch are to note that the music has been recast in D major.Marc Coppey/Peter Laul
- Coppey's sound, ranging from feathery to majestic to growling and with minimal vibrato, is surely the envy of violinists everywhere. The players imbue the music with tenderness and intimacy, even the forceful bits. If you don't like this one, the cello version has been recorded a few other times, by Ma and Wispelwey and some other less famous cellists I don't remember right now.