GMG Classical Music Forum

The Music Room => Great Recordings and Reviews => Topic started by: Todd on November 09, 2020, 05:39:01 AM

Title: Op 47
Post by: Todd on November 09, 2020, 05:39:01 AM
It's 2020.  Two hundred and fifty years ago this year, a dude named Lou was born.  He wrote some music.  Some of it is pretty good.  Turns out that even today, some performing musicians see fit to perform and record what he wrote.  In addition to some slightly above average symphonies, and a few pretty decent solo piano and string quartet compositions, he wrote other stuff.  Among that stuff are ten sonatas for violin and piano.  And among those, a couple are more famous than the others.  One can sort of judge the fame from the use of nicknames.  For no other reason than quasi-randomness, I decided to plow through all of the versions of the Kreutzer sonata in my collection to see if a new favorite emerges.  So . . .

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71hA1GeTo4L._SY425_.jpg)

I decided to start the survey by reaching back almost a century to the recording by Jacques Thibaud and Alfred Cortot from 1929.  Thibaud starts off, and his playing sounds both old-fashioned in its use of vibrato and portamento, but it also sounds elegant and rarified.  The double stops have a sort of faux-rough sound.  Cortot, well, this recording makes the listener sad he didn't record Beethoven closer to his prime rather than in the 50s, because here he plays with ample energy and drive, and his nonchalant nature offers a contrast to the more fastidious Tibaud - and some of his dropped notes in what is, in essence, a live recording, don't matter a whit.  He's like a French Kempff in that regard.  The Andante con variazioni opens with more wonderful portamento playing from Thibaud that simply would not pass muster in conservatories today.  The duo dash off the variations with a sense of lightness not always found in later recordings.  The Presto sounds fresh and alert and not too heavy or overwrought.  It's just good, truly old-fashioned music-making.  The transfers are good enough so that doesn't really worry too much about what's missing.  A strong start to the survey.

Title: Re: Op 47
Post by: Todd on November 10, 2020, 05:08:16 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51-SyxAYYNL._SY425_.jpg)

Sticking with old time recordings, Béla Bartók and József Szigeti follow.  Szigeti opens up the first movement with some slow playing filled with a fairly hefty amount of rubato, and Bartók enters with a measured tempo and a sonority that sounds "big" even through the old recording.  Here's a case of two musicians who really work as equals, for while each instrumentalist gets his turn, the back and forth is seamless.  While they crank up the speed and intensity, much of the playing is on the somewhat relaxed or comfortable side, and being a concert recording, it lacks studio perfection.  The duo mix things up nicely in the quite varied Andante, and they close with a peppy, fun, bouncy Presto.  Bartók's pianism is quite delightful here.  Overall, it's a wonderful historical document, but not a disc I turn to frequently.  I don't see that changing.

Title: Re: Op 47
Post by: Todd on November 11, 2020, 05:44:29 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/513qWAIS6rL._SY425_.jpg)

Going with another pianist-composer of a rather different pianistic temperament, Fazil Say and Patricia Kopatchinskaja follow.  Kopatchinskaja opens with something that almost evokes Bach in the Adagio sostenuto, and Say announces his arrival with a honkin' loud chord, and then the two proceed to deliver a fast, intense, pointed, staccato on staccato Presto, with Kopatchinskaja's sound slicing through the piano and into the listener's ears.  They find opportunities to completely change tack and playing some passages as sort of a miniature, scampering joke, far removed from standard conceptions of the work.  And the loudest playing slides into banging and screeching, but purposively.  It's a wild ride.  In the Andante, the duo slows down, but doesn't go slow, and they can't seem to make it through a bar without tinkering with the tempo, the dynamics, the phrasing.  Kopatchinskaja, in particular, seems to go out of her way to deliver something jagged and, if not ugly, then not particularly lyrical.  Say pokes around on the keyboard, using rubato and accelerando so obviously, in so heavy handed a manner, that it almost tires the listener.  But it tires the listener because it so uncommonly engaging, demanding unwavering attention and focus.  The artists often push to extremes so much that the variations become uncommonly distinct.  No need for tracking here; the musical landscape changes utterly.  Say thunders out the opening of the Presto, and when Kopatchinskaja joins him, they ramp up the energy, and later in the movement she slashes out her part in a purposely unattractive way, but in such a way to maximize energy and enjoyment.  This is definitely an alternative approach and not one for someone wanting a plain vanilla take.  It's superb.
Title: Re: Op 47
Post by: Todd on November 12, 2020, 05:52:54 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51J%2B6BHPhoL._SX425_.jpg)

Thomas Albertus Irnberger and Michael Korstick.  Irnberger starts with a big sound, stops suddenly, then Korstick starts with an even bigger sound.  As the two move from the Adagio to the Presto, Korstick's hard-hitting style is matched by Irnberger's hard-slashing style, though he never just tears into things willy-nilly.  The clear, clean sound allows the full dynamic impact of the playing to be felt, and at times the well-matched duo make Say and Kopatchinskaja seem a bit reserved.  Subtle it is not; exciting, oh yeah, it is that.  The pair slow down in the Andante, and here Korstick revels in producing his mammoth sonority even at slower speed, and Irnberger keeps up, with an admirable precision.  The players adopt a generally very brisk tempo for the full fifteen minute duration, and Korstick lays down a rhythmic foundation that boogies and both play the music, especially the faster variations, with an almost breathless forward momentum.  Gentler playing more or less goes AWOL here, but that's OK.  The Presto is all forward momentum and energy, and high level dynamics is where the duo shine.  Industrial strength classicism.
Title: Re: Op 47
Post by: Todd on November 13, 2020, 05:33:35 AM
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Francescas Dego and Leonardi.  Dego launches with a rich, warm sound while Leonardi plays with care and exactitude, and much more attention to the lower end of the dynamic spectrum when compared to Korstick.  As the music moves into the Presto, both pick up the pace nicely, and dynamic contrasts sound very fine, and nuanced.  Dego gets some love from the microphones, but Dego is her equal and easily overcomes this in forte passages; the set offers real musical teamwork.  Between about 8' and 9' in, the duo play with a sense of playfulness, though of the well prepared sort, and it sounds quite nice.  The Andante is taken at a reasonable pace, and Dego and Leonardi contrast styles nicely, with the pianist's sparse pedaling and not overdone touch offering fine dynamic shading and solid, well-measured support for Dego's warm sound.  The swifter variations have a sense of playfulness from the first movement, and the slower variations benefit mightily from Dego's nuanced playing, especially her effective quiet playing, and, if anything, her even more effective highest register playing, which sounds almost too sweet to be true.  Leonardi thunders out the opening of the Presto, and Dego joins with her beautiful tone, and the two move into a bouncing finale, with Dego, especially, just sort of bopping along in places, all while sounding silky.  I enjoyed this Violin Sonata cycle when I got it, but it now strikes me as better than my memory indicated. 
Title: Re: Op 47
Post by: Todd on November 14, 2020, 05:51:13 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/514F%2BYwnjgL._SX425_.jpg)


Pamela and Claude Frank.  Pamela launches her part with an approach similar to Dego, but less tonally rich, and her father lends a bit more weight to his part.  The entire first movement is taken at a nice tempo, infused with energy, and while Pamela certainly shows her stuff, the foundation and tempo seems more dictated by her father.  That's not a criticism, but an observation.  In a nicely paced Andante, Pamela plays her part nicely and generates an appealing, singing tone, but again her father ends up carrying a bit more of the musical burden.  The Presto has ample energy and drive, and if perhaps a few times I wished that Pamela had a fuller tone, the duo play off each other well, as though they had known each other for a while or something, and deliver a nice overall version.

Title: Re: Op 47
Post by: Todd on November 15, 2020, 06:53:47 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/516Bx6eFdvL._SX425_.jpg)

Jascha Heifetz and Brooks Smith.  Heifetz rips into the Adagio, and Smith plays his part nicely, though as second fiddle.  With no repeat and a Heifetz tempo - fast - the duo zip through the opening movement with zest in the fast passages and indulgent vibrato and portamento from Heifetz in the slower passages.  Of course it's well played, especially the violin part, but it verges on the breathless at times.  The Andante is likewise taken very fast, and here the result is no bueno.  It just sounds rushed and devoid of much musical merit, as if it was a warm-up for a recital with an approach designed to garner applause for the speed, and the recording has Heifetz overwhelm the pianist.  The Presto is similarly focused on speed and execution and surface excitement.  In those areas, it excels.  As a fully satisfying musical experience, not so much.

Title: Re: Op 47
Post by: Handelian on November 15, 2020, 07:38:56 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/516Bx6eFdvL._SX425_.jpg)

Jascha Heifetz and Brooks Smith.  Heifetz rips into the Adagio, and Smith plays his part nicely, though as second fiddle.  With no repeat and a Heifetz tempo - fast - the duo zip through the opening movement with zest in the fast passages and indulgent vibrato and portamento from Heifetz in the slower passages.  Of course it's well played, especially the violin part, but it verges on the breathless at times.  The Andante is likewise taken very fast, and here the result is no bueno.  It just sounds rushed and devoid of much musical merit, as if it was a warm-up for a recital with an approach designed to garner applause for the speed, and the recording has Heifetz overwhelm the pianist.  The Presto is similarly focused on speed and execution and surface excitement.  In those areas, it excels.  As a fully satisfying musical experience, not so much.

Heifetz recorded the work better with Moiseiwitsch with whom he also recorded Brahms and Franck. The problem was Heifetz did not see the sonatas as Beethoven intended 'sonatas for piano and violin' and looked upon his pianists mere accompanists. He was better with more equal partners like Moiseiwitsch or Rubinstein.

This combination works better:

(https://m.media-amazon.com/images/I/71-8jeGLfKL._SS500_.jpg)

Or this one with Repin:

(https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn%3AANd9GcQkQqmsiXdovZ5iTe3H6SNMAqvZ0eyVC64SIg&usqp=CAU)

Or with Perlman:

(https://flyinginkpot.com/wp-content/uploads/argperlkreutz.jpg)

Title: Re: Op 47
Post by: aukhawk on November 15, 2020, 10:28:52 AM
Jascha Heifetz and Brooks Smith.  Heifetz rips into the Adagio, and Smith plays his part nicely, though as second fiddle.  With no repeat and a Heifetz tempo - fast - the duo zip through the opening movement with zest in the fast passages and indulgent vibrato and portamento from Heifetz in the slower passages.  Of course it's well played, especially the violin part, but it verges on the breathless at times.  The Andante is likewise taken very fast, and here the result is no bueno.  It just sounds rushed and devoid of much musical merit, as if it was a warm-up for a recital with an approach designed to garner applause for the speed, and the recording has Heifetz overwhelm the pianist.  The Presto is similarly focused on speed and execution and surface excitement.  In those areas, it excels.  As a fully satisfying musical experience, not so much.

Time contraints?  What fits on a side of 78 rpm?
Title: Re: Op 47
Post by: Todd on November 15, 2020, 11:30:20 AM
Time contraints?  What fits on a side of 78 rpm?


First, it's a stereo recording.  Second, some shellac era recordings do not suffer the same maladies.
Title: Re: Op 47
Post by: Todd on November 16, 2020, 05:38:20 AM
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Anne-Sophie Mutter and Lambert Orkis.  Mutter tears into the opening before immediately pulling way back, and then Orkis enters somewhat tentatively, and then when the duo transitions to the Presto, the playing picks up speed, and then offers some of the widest, which is to say potentially exaggerated, dynamics around.  Mutter sets the pace here, and she not only likes huge dynamic contrasts, she also like huge tempo shifts.  As with Heifetz, there's never any doubt of the quality of the playing, but the mannerisms may not suit all tastes, though taste or no, there's no denying the high-voltage excitement generated in some passages.  After the lengthy 15' opener, the duo deliver an 18'+ Andante.  Mutter layers on the vibrato so thick and heavy that it tests even my easy-going nature as it pertains to heavy-duty interventionism.  One benefit of such interventionism is that variations often sound more variable, in a pleasing way, and such is the case here.  Sure, the duo uses big dollops of rubato, and the playing never really sounds light, but there are moments of drama and comparative playfulness, and some beauty.  The closing Presto has ample snap and drive, and wide ranging dynamics again, and makes for a solid closer to a good if perhaps too interventionist take. 
Title: Re: Op 47
Post by: Todd on November 17, 2020, 05:47:15 AM
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Daishin Kashimoto and Konstatin Lifschitz.  Mr Kashimoto is one of three First Concert Masters for the Berliner Philharmoniker, so one needn't worry about chops from the violinist.  Mr Lifschitz is a fine soloist in his own right, so technically assured playing is, well, assured.  (Which of course is to be expected.)  The pair go for a lengthy 15'+ opener, and Kashimoto opens with a broad, rich, vibrato-laden open, and Lifschitz answers in kind.  The Presto is not the fastest around, but it moves along with ample speed in the faster sections, and the close microphones capture the nifty fingerwork of the violinist.  Lifschitz often seems to play with stark dynamics, either mezzo-piano or something just shy of forte, rather like in his sonata cycle, and it works well, especially in the faster sections.  The tempo selections in the slower sections are well chosen, too.  The Andante is also on the long side, coming in at just a hair over seventeen minutes, and the duo highlights the contrasts by playing the faster variations with no little pep and stretching out the slower ones, and slower passages more generally.  Kashimoto slices right through the piano playing at times, and he does so without sounding the least bit screechy.  The Presto is just ever so slightly on the broad side in terms of timing, but one doesn't notice with the vibrant rhythm and the wide ranging dynamics, which really help here.  This cycle as a whole doesn't really float my boat, but this work does, and it is every bit as good as I remember.
Title: Re: Op 47
Post by: André on November 17, 2020, 06:51:31 AM
Todd, will you report on the Gatto/Libeer version on Alpha? I’ve seen good comments.
Title: Re: Op 47
Post by: Holden on November 17, 2020, 11:06:25 AM
I’m hoping you have both Grumiaux/Haskil and Francescatti/Casadesus on your list. I haven’t got any modern performances so maybe this thread will throw up some listening choices.
Title: Re: Op 47
Post by: Todd on November 17, 2020, 12:36:17 PM
Todd, will you report on the Gatto/Libeer version on Alpha? I’ve seen good comments.

This is not among the versions I currently own, so it is not included.


I’m hoping you have both Grumiaux/Haskil and Francescatti/Casadesus on your list. I haven’t got any modern performances so maybe this thread will throw up some listening choices.

These are both included.  Francescatti/Casadesus has been my reference for decades.
Title: Re: Op 47
Post by: Todd on November 18, 2020, 05:37:09 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51%2BTnrSkqoL._SY425_.jpg)

From the depths of Colorado come Edward Dusinberre and David Korevaar.  Mr Dusinberre knows his Beethoven very well, of course, and he opens the Adagio sostenuto with perfectly judged and realized tempo, vibrato, and intonation.  Mr Korevaar knows a few things about Beethoven, too, and he starts with perfect weight and basically perfect articulation.  And then things get good.  The duo deliver a weighty, romantic, at times fiery reading, but one possessed of both supreme control and no need to push tempi too much.  It might remind the listener of Irnberger and Korstick in some ways, but it benefits from rather more refinement.  In the Andante, the pair adopt perfectly judged tempi throughout, and most importantly, they play with a simultaneously loose feeling and tightly executed back and forth with an almost conversational style.  Korevaar often emphasizes the melody in his playing, except when he doesn't, and Dusinberre moves back and forth between prominence and support while maintaining perfect poise.  The transitions between variations are especially nicely done without anything special seeming to happen, and the fourth variation is almost ridiculously sweet and light.  Korevaar launches the Presto with a big ol' forte chord, and Dusinberre joins him in a rendition that fairly prances about start to finish.  One of the best extant recordings, and it's contained on something of a problematic disc.  You see, when doing comps, it's often good to jump one version to the next, but like recordings from Arcadi Volodos and Jean Rodophe Kars, whenever this one starts, the playing mercilessly forces the hapless listener to spin the whole recording, because the Op 96 that follows is likewise one of best.  It's a shame the pair haven't recorded all ten.
Title: Re: Op 47
Post by: Florestan on November 18, 2020, 07:16:14 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51%2BTnrSkqoL._SY425_.jpg)

From the depths of Colorado come Edward Dusinberre and David Korevaar.  Mr Dusinberre knows his Beethoven very well, of course, and he opens the Adagio sostenuto with perfectly judged and realized tempo, vibrato, and intonation.  Mr Korevaar knows a few things about Beethoven, too, and he starts with perfect weight and basically perfect articulation.  And then things get good.  The duo deliver a weighty, romantic, at times fiery reading, but one possessed of both supreme control and no need to push tempi too much.  It might remind the listener of Irnberger and Korstick in some ways, but it benefits from rather more refinement.  In the Andante, the pair adopt perfectly judged tempi throughout, and most importantly, they play with a simultaneously loose feeling and tightly executed back and forth with an almost conversational style.  Korevaar often emphasizes the melody in his playing, except when he doesn't, and Dusinberre moves back and forth between prominence and support while maintaining perfect poise.  The transitions between variations are especially nicely done without anything special seeming to happen, and the fourth variation is almost ridiculously sweet and light.  Korevaar launches the Presto with a big ol' forte chord, and Dusinberre joins him in a rendition that fairly prances about start to finish.  One of the best extant recordings, and it's contained on something of a problematic disc.  You see, when doing comps, it's often good to jump one version to the next, but like recordings from Arcadi Volodos and Jean Rodophe Kars, whenever this one starts, the playing mercilessly forces the hapless listener to spin the whole recording, because the Op 96 that follows is likewise one of best.  It's a shame the pair haven't recorded all ten.

Tolstoyan cover art too! Do you have any information on it?
Title: Re: Op 47
Post by: Todd on November 19, 2020, 05:38:45 AM
Tolstoyan cover art too! Do you have any information on it?

https://www.colorado.edu/music/2010/07/21/faculty-cd-release-dusinberre-korevaar
Title: Re: Op 47
Post by: Todd on November 19, 2020, 05:39:15 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71DgNEX28tL._SY425_.jpg)

Chloë Hanslip and Danny Driver.  Hanslip enters with a controlled, refined tone and Driver joins her doing the same.  As they rev up the playing in the Presto, some of the playing becomes a bit rougher, which befits the music.  The duo keep things peppy, but this is not a storming the heavens take, and as recorded, the apparent dynamic contrasts are not especially wide.  The Andante sounds nicely varied, and the duo fare better in the gentler, more beautiful, more playful music, and in places where Hanslip's playing soars into the highest registers.  The concluding Presto is nicely played, peppy, but also often elegant and smooth.  Overall, a pleasant version with some moments of musical sparkle.
Title: Re: Op 47
Post by: Florestan on November 19, 2020, 11:31:06 AM
https://www.colorado.edu/music/2010/07/21/faculty-cd-release-dusinberre-korevaar

Found it!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ren%C3%A9-Xavier_Prinet (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ren%C3%A9-Xavier_Prinet)

Thank you!
Title: Re: Op 47
Post by: Florestan on November 19, 2020, 11:35:03 AM
Will you review Uto Ughi / Lamar Crowson and Wolfgang Schneiderhan / Carl Seeman?

If you don't have them I'd be only too happy to provide them for you, I'm really very very curious what you'd make of them.
Title: Re: Op 47
Post by: Todd on November 19, 2020, 01:32:21 PM
Will you review Uto Ughi / Lamar Crowson and Wolfgang Schneiderhan / Carl Seeman?

If you don't have them I'd be only too happy to provide them for you, I'm really very very curious what you'd make of them.


No.  For this go-round, I am sticking with versions I own only. 
Title: Re: Op 47
Post by: Florestan on November 19, 2020, 01:33:12 PM

No.  For this go-round, I am sticking with versions I own only.

Okay.
Title: Re: Op 47
Post by: Todd on November 20, 2020, 05:42:50 AM
(https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn%3AANd9GcRH-kPQo3hqttYH5a5n2PfvtrDzXc9unTZop4G4PhUrJoUUfs3B&usqp=CAU)

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71SQYJUXmtL._SY425_.jpg)

Two from David Oistrakh and Lev Oborin.  The mono recording starts with Oistrakh's big tone and predictably fine control, and Oborin's able support.  The repeatless movement moves forward with nice energy, and a sense of scale and inevitability, and it picks up in intensity, and never forgoes control, as the music progresses.  The duo introduce a bit of lightness, too.  The Andante theme is presented at a fairly brisk tempo, but sounds appealing, and Oborin plays with no little energy, though clarity lacks a bit in the recording - or is it the playing?  The pair deliver nicely distinct variations, though none sound especially nuanced.  The Presto sounds playful and fun and if not the most vigorous, it sounds a bit light, at least when compared to the opening movement.  Nice.  The stereo recording, taken from the full cycle, starts off with a more subdued Oistrakh, poorly recorded and with a violin that wanders a bit spatially.  The tone sounds more beautiful, but the playing more subdued.  Oborin sounds roughly the same as before.  Then comes the Presto, and it's slower, heavier, and kind of droopy.  And boring.  The movement, though not much different in overall timing from the mono recording, just seems to drag.  The Andante and variations fare a bit better, but Oistrakh, in particular, sounds comparatively lifeless.  The Presto is droopy, slow, and enervated.  Pity the duo didn't record the cycle in the early 50s.
Title: Re: Op 47
Post by: Todd on November 21, 2020, 06:33:18 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71B2%2B5anUhL._SY425_.jpg)

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71jTpW7RXoL._SX425_.jpg)

Now for two from the same pianist, one Martha Argerich.  In the earlier recording, Kremer slashes right into the piece, not really seeing a need to go for something slow or searching, and Argerich has no difficulty pairing with him.  The two rush headlong through the opening movement.  Yes, they do back off and play with something more relaxed, Argerich especially.  (Kremer's tone always seems edgy.)  It's high in excitement.  The Andante fares better in the faster variations, which can sound pleasingly light and vibrant, while the slower variations maintain higher than normal levels of tension.  The Presto, launching with Argerichian thunder, ends up predictably high voltage, though one with bounce to go with the edge.  Overall, a high energy, none too shabby take.

In the later recording, Vadim Repin opens with a more beautiful, pristine, and controlled tone in the Adagio sostenuto, while Argerich announces her arrival in a rather pronounced manner.  But then she backs off and plays music with more subtlety than she sometimes does.  As the Presto opens and moves along, Argerich often dominates, but it ends up not mattering because Repin's playing is still so attractive that one just sits back and enjoys.  Too, Argerich varies her touch and even her tempo within brief passages in an audible yet not obtrusive way.  With Repin, the expectation would be that he shine in the Andante and variations, and so he does.  His precision and purity beguile, and here Argerich plays with fine subtlety much of the time.  Sure, the two pep things up when appropriate, and in the fourth variation, rather like Dusinberre and Korevaar, the music takes on a sweet feel, with Argerich again doing a fantastic job softening up her playing, and the last variation takes on a nicely romantic feel.  After more Argerich thunder to open, the concluding Presto is fairly light and ebullient, with Repin bowing away and Argerich doing a quite delightful job using the melody to underpin the violin while punctuating it with some dandily played accompaniment.  When called for, the duo shriek and thwack out the dynamic explosions, and everything just sounds tip-top.  An outstanding rendition.
Title: Re: Op 47
Post by: Todd on November 22, 2020, 06:44:33 AM
(https://img.discogs.com/cRE5cPulMSKpu4GFQxLiDmncMTQ=/fit-in/600x600/filters:strip_icc():format(jpeg):mode_rgb():quality(90)/discogs-images/R-13676737-1558814584-7188.jpeg.jpg) 

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71TPz9w8tEL._SY425_.jpg)

Sticking with one pianist for two recordings, Wilhelm Kempff makes his inevitable appearance with Georg Kulenkampff from the 1930s and Wolfgang Schneiderhan from the 1950s. 

With Kulenkampff, the violinist opens with a vibrato- and portamento-rich Adagio sostenuto, and peak Kempff joins him with playing that is cleanly articulated and nicely dynamic, even through the surface noise.  The duo drop repeats, so the movement comes in at a taut 11'05", and it's about energy and drive.  Kempff proves more fallible than Kulenkampff in the fastest passages, but just as in later years, it miraculously seems to matter not at all.  Kulenkampff seems relaxed and natural with the music, and acts as something of a more romantic foil to Kempff.  The Andante, also cut down, starts with Kempff's just right Beethoven playing, and then Kulenkampff joins in and blends perfectly.  They play the faster music quite lightly, with the violinist gliding above Kempff, who plays some of the faster music both beautifully and entirely unseriously while also being serious.  The Presto is played quickly, with ample drive and rhythmic drive and playfulness.  It's really quite marvelous, and here is recorded evidence than ancient recordings can withstand comparison to later studio efforts filled with judicious editing.

With Scheiderhan, the opening violin salvo is warm and relaxed and not as tight as some preceding versions, but its comfyness is compounded when Kempff enters.  The entire Presto has a sort of more relaxed, lighter feel than some of the hard-hitting versions.  Combined with the sonic constraints of the mono recording, it's almost easy listening, but not quite, and if it were, it would be of the good kind.  The Andante and variations sounds quite leisurely and dynamically limited, a sort of lazy stroll of a good time through the music.  Specific phrases seem to delight in the wit of the writing, or make it sound so when it shouldn't.  It's anti-virtuosic in a way, and more about joy and pleasure.  (One can almost envisage a cartoon of Bugs Bunny frolicking to the playing.)  The Presto, well, it's a bit laid back and dynamically limited, but by this time, the listener simply doesn't care.  (The same would apply if the listener dislikes the approach.)  Not one of the greats, but extremely fine if one succumbs to its charms. 
Title: Re: Op 47
Post by: Todd on November 23, 2020, 05:16:52 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/41pUyJt8msL._SY425_.jpg)

Veering back to a prior violinist, Georg Kulenkampff joins young Georg Solti for a second recording.  The super-stripped down opening movement starts with a taut Adagio sostenuto, and then in the Presto, the importance of the accompanist becomes obvious as the duo press forward in the faster sections with speed and drive, with nuance lacking and dynamic contrasts played up.  Sounds like Solti.  Kulenkampff ups his game in terms of speed, but the overall effect sounds less enjoyable than his pairing with Kempff.  The taut, more driven nature carries right on into the Andante, which sounds kinda fun but also a bit more like a run-through.  The Presto is swift, firm, and maintains the run-through feel.  The duo are both efficient and effective, but the styles differ and they don't sound as musically amalgamated as other pairings.
Title: Re: Op 47
Post by: Todd on November 24, 2020, 05:58:16 AM
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Going with two from the same violinst one more time, here Pinky.  In the recording with Barenboim, a young Zukerman opens with a rich tone and measured playing, with Barenboim adding Barenboim level support shortly thereafter.  The transitional music is handled dandily, and the Presto is taken at an energetic but not fast pace.  Wide dynamic contrasts characterize the playing more than zip, which works just fine.  The two trade off between who hogs the limelight, and the playing comes off as refined with some purposeful rough edges.  The pair play the Andante and variations very well, indeed, with ample stylistic changes, and fine and beautiful playing, but at times it sounds like what one expects top students at a conservatory to deliver.  In the stripped down Presto, the duo play with verve and nice dynamic contrasts and deliver a solid overall version.  With Neikrug, Zukerman opens in a strikingly similar manner, just in notably better sound.  Neikrug is less pronounced and distinctive when he enters, almost as though he consciously defers to the fiddler.  That's not to say that the pianist can't turn it on when he wants to, because he can and does, it's just that the balance differs.  The Presto has a nice degree of energy, but the overall tempo is held back just a bit, allowing the musicians the time to let the music unfold, and occasionally, some passages end up sounding kind of klunky.  The Andante benefits even more from Zukerman's big tone, and Neikrug again fades a bit.  The concluding Presto has ample energy, but the rhythmic pulse of better versions is not as pronounced, though the duo blend together well and Zukerman's playing never sounds less than engaging.  A nice version.
Title: Re: Op 47
Post by: Todd on November 25, 2020, 05:53:06 AM
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Itzhak Perlman and Vladimir Ashkenazy.  Big tone, lots of vibrato, immaculate control, that's how Perlman starts.  Big tone, immaculate control, that's how Ashkenazy starts.  Then they merge.  Here are two giants of the analog stereo era in their inevitable pairing, and this is one of those times when big name stars fully deliver on their promise.  The duo drive through the opening movement Presto with what could be called abandon if it were not for the absolute control they display in every aspect of their playing.  And they clearly worked out what they wanted to do.  When Perlman must shine, oh boy, does he, with every register pristine.  When Ashkenazy must come to the fore, of course he does with Ashkenazian command.  Yep.  The Andante comes in at a lengthy 16'30", and the duo attend to every detail, every musical nook and cranny, that legendary artists ought to.  Each variation is basically characterized perfectly, with perfect tempo proportions and perfect dynamic contrasts everywhere.  The Presto, well, the Presto sounds just as perfectly realized, with perfect levels of energy, perfect musical teamwork, and even a slightly elongated last note from Perlman.  Perlman and Ashkenazy were both at their peaks when they recorded this work, and it shows.  One of the great recordings.
Title: Re: Op 47
Post by: André Le Nôtre on November 25, 2020, 01:47:00 PM
Sorry to change the subject here, but my top request for an exhaustive review thread--by you and others--would be Schubert D960 piano sonata. I obtained a very interesting recording by Ellsworth Snyder, a friend (lover?) of John Cage and have been kind of entranced by it. Snyder was also an abstract painter of some repute. He believed that Schubert would have wanted this sonata played much slower than common practice...
Title: Re: Op 47
Post by: Holden on November 25, 2020, 03:16:27 PM
Sorry to change the subject here, but my top request for an exhaustive review thread--by you and others--would be Schubert D960 piano sonata. I obtained a very interesting recording by Ellsworth Snyder, a friend (lover?) of John Cage and have been kind of entranced by it. Snyder was also an abstract painter of some repute. He believed that Schubert would have wanted this sonata played much slower than common practice...

Which is what Richter did.......

Title: Re: Op 47
Post by: Todd on November 26, 2020, 05:52:06 AM
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Leonidas Kavakos and Enrico Pace.  Kavakos starts the Adagio sostenuto is supremely controlled, almost Bach-sounding style, and Pace starts off with strongly characterized playing offering a striking contrast.  Kavakos only gradually picks up the volume, and as he does Pace recedes a bit to allow the main focus to be the fiddler.  Part of that seems to be the production team's choice, and part is Pace's, and as in every other chamber music recording he has made, he demonstrates that he is one of the best accompanists working today by knowing how to pair with the big star.  Not that he's a wallflower, or that Kavakos dominates proceedings like Heifetz, because the two alternate back and forth quite nicely.  Kavakos demonstrates instrumental command second to none, playing fast or slow, loud or quiet, a single note or double stop, or anything else, as well as anyone.  The dynamic and tempo transitions are seamless and flawless throughout, and the duo generate amply energy in the Presto.  In the Andante, the duo again display supremely fine coordination, so well-drilled that it sort of becomes something of a weakness.  The playing lacks spontaneity and sounds nearly perfect, like a Steven Osborne museum grade recording but refined even more.  They play the concluding Presto at a proper tempo, but somehow it manages to sound slower than it is, and everything sounds almost too meticulous.  Yep, that's kvetching of the highest order.  I will say, that I now regret not taking the opportunity to drive up to Seattle to hear the duo in person this last January.  Who knows if I will ever have the chance to hear them in person again. 
Title: Re: Op 47
Post by: Todd on November 27, 2020, 06:29:44 AM
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Takako Nishizaki and Jenő Jandó.  Nishizaki starts conventionally in the Adagio sostenuto, but she generates a small sound, which becomes more evident after Jandó joins and they play together.  He often just drowns her out, without seeming to try.  The musical approach is unfussy, straight-forward, and good enough for a library recording if one just wants to have the work.  The Andante sounds like a slower, properly varied style approach, while the Presto has nice enough pep and drive.  If the description sounds lackluster, it's because the playing falls into the completely competent but more than kind of dull category.  Sub-par early Naxos sound doesn't help.  Meh.
Title: Re: Op 47
Post by: Todd on November 28, 2020, 06:34:14 AM
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Gerhard Taschner and Walter Gieseking.  Turbo-charged Beethoven, that's what one gets here.  Taschner opens the Adagio sostenuto nicely enough, and Gieseking dispatches his part nicely, but the Presto (more a Molto Prestissimo) is what the artists waited for, and in the fast passages they push things to and then past the breaking point.  While things never fall apart, the playing borders on the reckless.  Gieseking is comfortable zipping through anything, and Taschner seems so, too.  There's definitely excitement aplenty.  In slower passages, Taschner also makes sure to use some old school (older than one would have thought given his age at the time) vibrato that sounds excessive.  The interpretive extremes reappear in the Andante.  The overall timing is middle of the road, but the slow variations are slow and Taschner plays with excessive vibrato which sounds excessive because it lacks sweetness and doesn't add aural beauty, and the fast passages are dashed off.  Gieseking does his thing like Gieseking does, and therefore holds more interest.  The closing Presto, stripped of repeat and dashed off in under six minutes, is again more like a Molto Prestissimo and played with speed and recklessness that almost makes it seem like the artists wanted to finish up the session in time for a pressing lunch engagement.  Meh-.
Title: Re: Op 47
Post by: Todd on November 29, 2020, 06:37:59 AM
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Sayaka Shoji and Gianluca Cascioli.  A study in contrasts with the Taschner/Gieseking recording.  Shoji and Cascioli both open the Adagio sostenuto at slow and controlled tempi, and then they move into a Presto that is very restrained and studied in comparison.  Both artists seem to have studied the score and almost over-prepared.  Any hints of spontaneity seem entirely absent, and instead every single phrase, chord, and note seems planned down to the Nth degree.  While that may seem like a criticism, it is meant as praise.  Every once in a while, one appreciates a recording where everything, down to the exact decibel output of both the violin and piano, are precisely honed.  Musical autopsies can be enjoyable.  The Andante benefits even more from the studied approach the duo bring.  Shoji can and does play with a gently beautiful tone, and Cascioli can and does the same, and they lighten their approach, with playing on the quiet end of the spectrum that simply beguiles.  Shoji, in particular, creates an at times sweet and gently nuanced sound that really hits the spot, especially in the gorgeous and tender fourth variation.  She and Cascioli turn the slow movement into the center of gravity for the work, bringing late period qualities to the music and playing.  Very nice.  The detail-oriented almost to a fault approach pays surprising dividends in the concluding Presto as Shoji floats her violin over Cascioli's (too?) meticulous right hand playing in some passages, with each note from each artist so cleanly articulated yet so subtle that one just sort of marvels at the musical transparency.  Of course, energy and drive and snap go missing when compared to other versions, but this is not those versions.  It's its own thing.  Most enjoyable.
Title: Re: Op 47
Post by: Todd on November 30, 2020, 05:43:40 AM
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Isabelle Faust and Alexander Melnikov.  And here's yet another widely contrasting recording.  Faust and Melnikov take the repeat in the opener and play with verve approaching Taschner and Gieseking, but with preparation and control more akin to Shoji and Cascioli.  Faust's tone is not the most robust or tonally lustrous, but her playing is super-precise and her dynamic range, as recorded, is superb.  Melnikov, if anything, displays even more control.  They combine to very good effect.  In the Andante, they go for a light, springy, bouncy, rhythmically focused reading, with quicksilver dynamic contrasts and stop-on-a-dime phrasing.  It's higher on ear-catching excitement than nuance, but it's high on nuance, too.  Melnikov pounds out the opening chord of the final movement, and then the duo play a quick 'n' tight Presto closer, with more of that bouncy rhythmic playing that so captures the attention.  Better than my memory suggested.

Title: Re: Op 47
Post by: JBS on November 30, 2020, 06:22:25 AM
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Isabelle Faust and Alexander Melnikov.  And here's yet another widely contrasting recording.  Faust and Melnikov take the repeat in the opener and play with verve approaching Taschner and Gieseking, but with preparation and control more akin to Shoji and Cascioli.  Faust's tone is not the most robust or tonally lustrous, but her playing is super-precise and her dynamic range, as recorded, is superb.  Melnikov, if anything, displays even more control.  They combine to very good effect.  In the Andante, they go for a light, springy, bouncy, rhythmically focused reading, with quicksilver dynamic contrasts and stop-on-a-dime phrasing.  It's higher on ear-catching excitement than nuance, but it's high on nuance, too.  Melnikov pounds out the opening chord of the final movement, and then the duo play a quick 'n' tight Presto closer, with more of that bouncy rhythmic playing that so captures the attention.  Better than my memory suggested.

That's my favorite recording of the Kreutzer.  I was curious to see what you thought of it.

You did prompt me to get out my Perlman/Ashkenazy set and play the full cycle. I remembered the set as being rather a bore, and was happy to discover it's not nearly as bland as I thought from previous listens.
Title: Re: Op 47
Post by: Todd on December 01, 2020, 05:59:16 AM
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Now's as good a time as any to get a HIP rendition out of the way.  Jaap Schröder and Jos Van Immerseel paired up for this recording in the 90s, and from the first note one hears period instruments.  The violin lacks projection and precision, but does sound warmer than pretty much every version to this point, even if the intonation annoys.  But not as much as Immerseel's instrument.  To be sure, I've heard much worse sounding period keyboards, but I've also heard much better.  And I've heard better played.  (Think Alexander Lonquich in his new set of the Cello Sonatas.)  The duo get all the notes right and the general spirit of the Presto right, but the instruments sound broken.  And some of Schröder's fast playing does not inspire confidence.  The Andante brings Immerseel's fortepiano more to fore much of the time, and it doesn't hurt anything - and it doesn't help anything.  Both players generate a more comfortable sound, but the instruments grate, especially the violin.  The concluding Presto has enough pep but sounds small and doesn't have the dynamics or clean playing to satisfy.  I doubt I listen to this recording again.
Title: Re: Op 47
Post by: Todd on December 02, 2020, 05:21:29 AM
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Isabelle van Keulen and Hannes Minnaar.  An unexpected cycle which I bought because it was five bucks.  Keulen is not new to me, but Minnaar is (or was when I bought it), and let me say that they do some snazzy work here.  Keulen does not go for the long, singing line, nor for a gorgeous one, but instead often (elegantly) slices her way through some passages, and seems to shorten note values, or at least taper the notes in such a way as to make it seem so.  It's an elegant take on rambunctious fiddling in the opening movement.  Playing along is Minnaar, who's just superb.  His articulation is outstanding, his voice balancing, too, and while he can and does play with oomph, he never bulldozes his way through the music.  And some little touches - perfectly weighted arpeggios, sforzandi that have attack but not bite, and a just generally supremely fine control and taste - almost make him the star of the show.  The duo keep the Andante tight and springy pretty much throughout, with even the slower variations kind moving along.  The effect is not at all unpleasant, and sort of makes the whole thing peppier.  Minnaar hammers out the opening chord of the Presto and, at least rhythmically, sets the pace in the movement as the duo bop along quite nicely.  Superb.

Title: Re: Op 47
Post by: Todd on December 03, 2020, 05:23:11 AM
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Josef Suk and Jan Panenka.  Suk starts more or less old school, with more than a little vibrato and a robust open, while Panenka joins him offering a piano equivalent.  They then move through the Presto at a robust but not rushed tempo, and there's a robustness to the overall style and playing.  Not a heaviness, not at all, a robustness.  In the Andante, the duo effectively trade lead roles, whereas in the opener, Suk was the focus.  Here, Suk keeps his vibrato and robust tone and Panenka offers a solid underpinning, though one might wish for a finer touch at times.  Suk does lighten his touch a bit, too, delivering some lithe upper register playing.  In the Presto, the duo again deliver robust playing, if not particularly zippy playing.  Suk sort of becomes the star again, and with lilting double stops like he delivers a couple times, it sort of makes sense.  The overall feel is old school reliable music making. 
Title: Re: Op 47
Post by: Todd on December 04, 2020, 06:38:07 AM
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Aleksandra Kuls and Justyna Danczowska.  Kuls starts with a slightly edgy Adagio sostenuto, a trait that never dissipates, and Danczowska enters with a forthright, clean piano sound, and then the two jump into the Presto.  Danczowska adds a lot of heft, and the duo alternate between taking the lead nicely.  They don't necessarily bring anything particularly or strikingly original to their playing, but the energy and directness work.  The Andante theme sees Kuls relax her sound a bit, and when called on to do so in the rest of the movement she does.  But it's the faster variations that really hit the spot, with ample snap and peppiness.  The artists sound like they are having fun, though that could be an illusion.  Too, the fourth variation sounds light, almost ethereal, especially for Danczowska's playing.  The duo go all lively and bouncy in the Presto, which doesn't really let up throughout, but is also never sounds heavy or overdone.  It's really quite exhilarating and would kill in person.  SOTA+ sound helps things out. 
Title: Re: Op 47
Post by: Todd on December 05, 2020, 05:46:31 AM
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Willi Boskovsky and Lili Kraus.  Boskovsky could never be accused of being the subtlest Beethoven interpreter on evidence of this recording.  He starts the Adagio sostenuto a bit swiftly and plays the Presto with a touch of scruffiness in places.  Kraus polishes things up a bit, but overall the opening movement is about energy and exuberance.  In the Andante, if one can appreciate Boskovsky's generous vibrato - and who could not - then one gets a gentler treat, and Kraus adds a crisp classicism.  In the faster variations, Boskovsky's less than lush playing reappears, but the approach lightens the music, making it sound quite nice.  The Presto is just plucky as all get out, fun and light and bubbly and probably not for people who like Beethoven with more weight all the time.  Old 50s mono has some defects, including tape overload and distortion, but it works well enough.
Title: Re: Op 47
Post by: Todd on December 06, 2020, 06:31:37 AM
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Sarah Kapustin and Jeannette Koekkoek.  Kapustin opens with a slow and rich Adagio sostenuto, and Koekkoek follows suit, with well-recorded heft.  The Presto stays on the slightly broad side, and Kapustin's tone takes on a sharp edge in some higher register playing.  Rather than explosive, intense energy, the duo brings a somewhat inevitable forward drive that pops up in some symphony recordings.  The duo then deliver a relatively perkier than normal Andante and variations, keeping a more constant overall tempo flow.  How much one likes such an approach may influence how much one likes this recording.  The concluding Presto has more drive and pep than the opening movement, and more violin edge, too.  Overall, the quality exceeds memories, but it is not a favorite.

Title: Re: Op 47
Post by: Todd on December 07, 2020, 05:36:33 AM
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Kristóf Baráti and Klára Würtz.  Baráti opens with a tense and not exactly slow Adagio sostenuto, and Klára Würtz mirrors the approach.  The duo adopt a generally brisk overall approach, but end up using more flexibility than Kapustin and Koekkoek, though it would be difficult to describe the results as subtle.  This is high voltage, high energy playing, which is no problem at all in itself, it's just when compared to something like Perlman/Ashkenazy, something goes missing.  The duo go for a fast and direct Andante, to the point where the fourth variation sounds too rushed.  They then close with a quick and perhaps slightly rough Presto.  Here Würtz's steadiness and control lays the foundation for the conception, and while it bops along, it also pretty much fades from memory when the last note stops.
Title: Re: Op 47
Post by: Todd on December 08, 2020, 05:13:26 AM
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Augustin Dumay and Maria João Pires.  An extended and dramatic Adagio sostenuto intro by Dumay and tonally dark-ish but light entry by Pires segues to a Presto of some robustness, with Dumay in the lead.  Some of his playing sounds inelegant, though purposely so.  Ample energy and drive inform most of the playing, though some passages seem comparatively stiff, with one or two transitions lacking the seamlessness of others.  For this recording, the Andante is where it's at.  Pires comes to the fore more, which can only help, and the duo impart more than a little stylistic variegation into the variations.  Dumay plays with more subtlety and beauty, and Pires, as is her wont, deliver nuance on top of subtlety, blended with just the right amount of heft.  Little figurations sparkle and dance, her touch showing fine gradations up and down the spectrum.  The Presto reverts to the Dumay led sound, and the same sometimes purposely inelegant playing.  The duo does not barnstorm here, but there's plenty of pep and some humorous (in execution and emphasis) szforzandi from the fiddler and a charming overall mien.  very nice.
Title: Re: Op 47
Post by: Todd on December 09, 2020, 05:40:24 AM
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Arthur Grumiaux and Clara Haskil.  Grumiaux never, that I have heard, put a foot wrong.  In the Adagio sostenuto, he reinforces that idea, with an elegance yet robustness that seduces, which then gets further reinforced as the playing switches gears on the Presto, where the quick playing never sounds rushed, but rather dispatched with ease.  Haskil, for her part, offers mostly superb accompaniment, a few rough passages in the left hand playing notwithstanding.  Her tone and range and attack all suit the music and her partner quite nicely, indeed.  In the Andante, Grumiaux plays with such beauty and refinement that one just sort of basks in beauty.  As good as Haskil is, Grumiaux really is on another level here, creating a sort of disparate quality; top notch and timeless meet.  The variations each sound superb, reaching an apogee in the fourth, with Haskil fully matching Grumiaux, with Grumiaux himself offering purely delightful pizzicatti (how does he do that?) and trills so ethereal and light and beautiful and playful that one might find oneself sort of swaying and swooning to the playing.  The Presto closes out with a sophisticated and smooth (too smooth? Nah.) Presto, where while the players are pretty much equals, still relies on Grumiaux's playing to lead the music forward, which works splendidly.  This recording has been since I first heard, and will remain forever, one of my favorites.
Title: Re: Op 47
Post by: Todd on December 10, 2020, 05:20:24 AM
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Henryk Szeryng and Arthur Rubinstein.  The duo opt for no repeats, bringing the opening movement in at under eleven minutes, but they do not rush.  Szeryng opens with a lovely, vibrato-rich Adagio sostenuto and Rubinstein is his tonally robust self and perfectly suited to accompany.  Right from the moment they play together, there is a comfortableness to the music making that makes everything jell.  There's enough energy, enough dynamic range, a perfect blend of instruments.  If not as elevated as playing from some other duos, this recording offers a perfect example of why the mammoth Rubinstein box is such a great thing to have: grab a disc, any disc, and it is literally impossible to be disappointed.  Anyway, back to the music: the Presto is not the fastest or most incisive or most anything, but it just sort of moves along.  In the Andante, Szeryng's approach comes perilously close to sounding to vibrato-laden and syrupy - but it doesn't get there.  Rubinstein knows what he's doing when he backs up his partner.  One gets the sense that they worked together many times, because the back and forths have an ease, with tiny pauses or transitions that sound, well, natural.  The brisk Presto sounds spunky, and Rubinstein, especially, delivers some sparkling high register playing.  Rock solid stuff.
Title: Re: Op 47
Post by: Todd on December 11, 2020, 05:35:12 AM
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Corey Cerovsek and Paavali Jumppanen.  Coming into the comparisons, this set has been - and remains - my reference contemporary set.  Entirely unsurprisingly, I was reminded why.  Cerovsek layers on the vibrato in the Adagio sostenuto, and plays with a modern sensibility reconstruction of romanticism, while Jumppanen enters with clarity and perfectly judged touch to aid the fiddler, and then the duo launch into a Presto possessed of everything one wants.  Ample energy, wide dynamic contrasts, effortless back and forths, perfect blending of instruments.  When Cerovsek plays lower registers, he plays with fine poise and clarity, and Jumppanen varies his dynamics perfectly.  When they accelerate the music together, it electrifies.  Even in slower, less eventful passages, the perfect blending of instrumentalists cannot be denied.  As kick-ass as the opener is, the Andante may be better yet.  Cerovsek's playing is basically beyond reproach.  He plays with a richness and warmth that kills criticism.  Hardly less impressive is Jumppanen's playing, boasting some mean trills whenever he dispatches them, as well as a rhythmic sense in the faster variations that exude excitement.  As in most of the best versions, the fourth variation is the highlight, with Jumppanen delivering some right hand playing of almost ridiculous attractiveness, and Cerovsek joining him, though he can't quite match Grumiaux's pizzicato magic.  What he can and does do, abetted by Jumppanen, is deliver a coda with playing of beauty and at times serenity to make one greedily await the next note.  Oh yeah.  The closing Presto launches with a big ol' honkin' chord belted out by Jumppanen, and then it moves into super-frisky playing.  Again, wide-ranging and perfectly executed dynamics mark out this performance, and the rhythmic foundation laid down by Jumppanen makes the music bubble until the end.  Just, yeah.  Add in some of the best sound available, and this here's one of the greatest recordings of the work yet made. 
Title: Re: Op 47
Post by: Todd on December 12, 2020, 05:45:23 AM
And now, a fusillade of five French fiddlers to finish: Fouchenneret, Capuçon, Ferras, Papavrami, and Francescatti.  (OK, Papavrami was born in Albania, but he's been in France since he was a young kid, so he gets included here.) 

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First, Pierre Fouchenneret and Romain Descharmes.  Fouchenneret's open reminds the listener of Bach to an extent, and while not at all devoid of vibrato, he uses less than some others.  Descharmes' playing stays kind of surface-deep to start, and he and the engineers cede slightly to Fouchenneret.  As the music unfold in the Presto, the duo pick up the pace and play with more energy, and things sort of cumulatively pick up until the playing just before the coda assumes a sort of scale and oomph that satisfies handily.  In the Andante, the duo keep things light start to finish, with some of the playing taking on an uncommonly dance-like feel, and Fouchenneret's highest register playing takes on a most appealing feathery sound.  With an approach offered by the duo, one would expect, and one gets, a delightful and delicate fourth variation, too.  The Presto has a very dance-like style to the playing, and the due keeps things light and playful more or less the whole way through.  Very, very nice.
Title: Re: Op 47
Post by: Todd on December 13, 2020, 06:00:43 AM
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Renaud Capuçon and Frank Braley.  Capuçon opens with slow, almost vibratoless playing, and Braley enters with surface playing possessed of notably refined touch to back him up in the Adagio sostenuto, while in the Presto, they generate ample energy.  While the dynamic contrasts sound snazzy and there's impact, the playing retains a certain lightness; it never becomes too heavy, while it displays a basically perfect level of musical drama.  It's echt-French chamber music-making, which means it's very, very good.  The Andante has more comparatively light playing, and here not just the fourth has it.  It starts in with the first variation, and tickles the ear.  Could one want more depth in the third variation?  Maybe, but it's hard to say one would want something much more than what the ethereal and gorgeous fourth offers.  Braley starts off the closing Presto with a bracing chord, and then he and Capuçon wind through the music with a nimble, responsive take.  They takes turns leading, and the transitions sound smooth and easy.  Superb modern sound only helps matters, and they didn't need help.
Title: Re: Op 47
Post by: Brass Hole on December 13, 2020, 11:47:47 AM
Even though I can't find any that like among the recent years' output there are so many good Sibelius Violin Concerto Op 47 recordings that I favor:

(https://d1iiivw74516uk.cloudfront.net/eyJidWNrZXQiOiJwcmVzdG8tY292ZXItaW1hZ2VzIiwia2V5IjoiNzkyMjM2NS4xLmpwZyIsImVkaXRzIjp7InJlc2l6ZSI6eyJ3aWR0aCI6OTAwfSwianBlZyI6eyJxdWFsaXR5Ijo2NX0sInRvRm9ybWF0IjoianBlZyJ9LCJ0aW1lc3RhbXAiOjE0MDE5ODI1NTd9) (https://d1iiivw74516uk.cloudfront.net/eyJidWNrZXQiOiJwcmVzdG8tY292ZXItaW1hZ2VzIiwia2V5IjoiNzk2MjQ3MS4xLmpwZyIsImVkaXRzIjp7InJlc2l6ZSI6eyJ3aWR0aCI6OTAwfSwianBlZyI6eyJxdWFsaXR5Ijo2NX0sInRvRm9ybWF0IjoianBlZyJ9LCJ0aW1lc3RhbXAiOjE0NjY2NzI4ODh9) (https://d1iiivw74516uk.cloudfront.net/eyJidWNrZXQiOiJwcmVzdG8tY292ZXItaW1hZ2VzIiwia2V5IjoiODQzODMzMi4xLmpwZyIsImVkaXRzIjp7InJlc2l6ZSI6eyJ3aWR0aCI6OTAwfSwianBlZyI6eyJxdWFsaXR5Ijo2NX0sInRvRm9ybWF0IjoianBlZyJ9LCJ0aW1lc3RhbXAiOjE1MjQwNjM2MjN9) (https://d1iiivw74516uk.cloudfront.net/eyJidWNrZXQiOiJwcmVzdG8tY292ZXItaW1hZ2VzIiwia2V5IjoiNzkzMDQ2Mi4xLmpwZyIsImVkaXRzIjp7InJlc2l6ZSI6eyJ3aWR0aCI6OTAwfSwianBlZyI6eyJxdWFsaXR5Ijo2NX0sInRvRm9ybWF0IjoianBlZyJ9LCJ0aW1lc3RhbXAiOjE0MDE5ODI1MTh9)(https://d1iiivw74516uk.cloudfront.net/eyJidWNrZXQiOiJwcmVzdG8tY292ZXItaW1hZ2VzIiwia2V5IjoiNzk1OTU1NS4xLmpwZyIsImVkaXRzIjp7InJlc2l6ZSI6eyJ3aWR0aCI6OTAwfSwianBlZyI6eyJxdWFsaXR5Ijo2NX0sInRvRm9ybWF0IjoianBlZyJ9LCJ0aW1lc3RhbXAiOjE0MDE5ODI1NTd9) (https://d1iiivw74516uk.cloudfront.net/eyJidWNrZXQiOiJwcmVzdG8tY292ZXItaW1hZ2VzIiwia2V5IjoiODAzNjUyNi4xLmpwZyIsImVkaXRzIjp7InJlc2l6ZSI6eyJ3aWR0aCI6OTAwfSwianBlZyI6eyJxdWFsaXR5Ijo2NX0sInRvRm9ybWF0IjoianBlZyJ9LCJ0aW1lc3RhbXAiOjE0MDE5ODI1MTh9)



Title: Re: Op 47
Post by: Brass Hole on December 13, 2020, 12:19:52 PM
Schumann's Piano Quartet Op 47 from 1842 is one of the most popular piano quartets. An easy to like work:

(https://d1iiivw74516uk.cloudfront.net/eyJidWNrZXQiOiJwcmVzdG8tY292ZXItaW1hZ2VzIiwia2V5IjoiODEyMTA4NS4xLmpwZyIsImVkaXRzIjp7InJlc2l6ZSI6eyJ3aWR0aCI6OTAwfSwianBlZyI6eyJxdWFsaXR5Ijo2NX0sInRvRm9ybWF0IjoianBlZyJ9LCJ0aW1lc3RhbXAiOjE1MTcyMzg0NjN9) (https://d1iiivw74516uk.cloudfront.net/eyJidWNrZXQiOiJwcmVzdG8tY292ZXItaW1hZ2VzIiwia2V5IjoiNzkyOTM3NS4xLmpwZyIsImVkaXRzIjp7InJlc2l6ZSI6eyJ3aWR0aCI6OTAwfSwianBlZyI6eyJxdWFsaXR5Ijo2NX0sInRvRm9ybWF0IjoianBlZyJ9LCJ0aW1lc3RhbXAiOjE1NjQ3NTkzNDl9) (https://d1iiivw74516uk.cloudfront.net/eyJidWNrZXQiOiJwcmVzdG8tY292ZXItaW1hZ2VzIiwia2V5IjoiODAwNjczNS4xLmpwZyIsImVkaXRzIjp7InJlc2l6ZSI6eyJ3aWR0aCI6OTAwfSwianBlZyI6eyJxdWFsaXR5Ijo2NX0sInRvRm9ybWF0IjoianBlZyJ9LCJ0aW1lc3RhbXAiOjE0MjI2MTM5MTN9)
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51vwio5wCHL.jpg) (https://d1iiivw74516uk.cloudfront.net/eyJidWNrZXQiOiJwcmVzdG8tY292ZXItaW1hZ2VzIiwia2V5IjoiNzkzOTcwNy4xLmpwZyIsImVkaXRzIjp7InJlc2l6ZSI6eyJ3aWR0aCI6OTAwfSwianBlZyI6eyJxdWFsaXR5Ijo2NX0sInRvRm9ybWF0IjoianBlZyJ9LCJ0aW1lc3RhbXAiOjE0NjEwODI5NDF9)(https://d1iiivw74516uk.cloudfront.net/eyJidWNrZXQiOiJwcmVzdG8tY292ZXItaW1hZ2VzIiwia2V5IjoiODAxOTI3NS4xLmpwZyIsImVkaXRzIjp7InJlc2l6ZSI6eyJ3aWR0aCI6OTAwfSwianBlZyI6eyJxdWFsaXR5Ijo2NX0sInRvRm9ybWF0IjoianBlZyJ9LCJ0aW1lc3RhbXAiOjE0MDE5ODI0ODR9)
Title: Re: Op 47
Post by: Todd on December 14, 2020, 05:54:18 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/6156PvJPNpL._SY425_.jpg)

Christian Ferras and Pierre Barbizet.  From new school French chamber music-making to old school French chamber music-making.  Ferras opens with more vibrato and a richer sound.  Barbizet jumps right in offers perfectly judged support.  One hears less tidiness than with Capuçon and Braley, and some others, but the music-making élan cannot be faulted.  What can be faulted is the exclusion of the repeat.  Boo!  Somehow, and I'm not sure how, the duo up their game in the Andante, which retains a light touch from both almost throughout.  In the faster music, Ferras displays a springy style and sound, and Barbizet plinks along with him.  They opt not to let the slower music get bogged down, and the whole fifteen minutes glides by.  The Presto has ample energy and boogie, and a certain cohesiveness and classical-meets-romantic, serious-meets-light approach that just captivates.  The mono sound fully satisfies.  Still one of the greats.
Title: Re: Op 47
Post by: Todd on December 15, 2020, 04:59:42 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/91qexZgDPoL._SY425_.jpg)

Tedi Papavrami and FFG.  Papavrami starts off with robust playing in the Adagio sostenuto, as does FFG, and then things just get more robust in the Presto.  Papavrami belts it out, his double stops sounding like triple stops.  FFG plays with more energy than normal, and some repeated chords have a speedy, intense-but-not-too-intense vibe.  The musicians generate an almost giddy sense of energy together.  It is not subtle.  It blazes.  So does the Andante.  Well, the fast music does at any rate.  Papavrami does generate more of that big, rich sound in the slower music, but even the slower music sounds fairly taut, but the duo go for maximum contrast and excitement when revving up the fast music.  The only downside is that the fourth variation sounds comparatively indelicate, though in context of the recording, it works spectacularly well.  Predictably, the concluding Presto blazes as the opening movement Presto did, the musicians scampering and ripping through the music, with a focus on thrills and fun more than depth.  Fortunately, it works.  This was foreordained.  FFG exists to make world class chamber music recordings.  (And solo recordings.) 

Title: Re: Op 47
Post by: Brian on December 15, 2020, 07:30:42 AM
I might need to buy that box. Didn't know much about Papavrami aside from that he'd once done the Prokofiev concertos for Naxos, but then last year his Franck/Faure sonatas came out with Nelson Goerner - another disc which can be described with some of the same adjectives you use there, like "robust," "not subtle," "blazes," "big, rich." I like a good big, rich violin sound. (My girlfriend left the room during the Franck because "it's too dramatic and I can't focus on my book.") And then a Zig Zag Territoires box of Papavrami solo (i.e. truly solo) recitals dropped to like $10, and it has a real nifty album of his own transcriptions of Scarlatti sonatas for violin alone. If that Beethoven set as a whole is like your description of this sonata, it'll be exactly my kind of thing.
Title: Re: Op 47
Post by: Todd on December 15, 2020, 07:49:05 AM
If that Beethoven set as a whole is like your description of this sonata

It is.
Title: Re: Op 47
Post by: Brass Hole on December 15, 2020, 10:12:50 AM
Chopin's Ballade No 3 Op 47 from 1841:

(https://d1iiivw74516uk.cloudfront.net/eyJidWNrZXQiOiJwcmVzdG8tY292ZXItaW1hZ2VzIiwia2V5IjoiNzkyNzk2Ny4xLmpwZyIsImVkaXRzIjp7InJlc2l6ZSI6eyJ3aWR0aCI6OTAwfSwianBlZyI6eyJxdWFsaXR5Ijo2NX0sInRvRm9ybWF0IjoianBlZyJ9LCJ0aW1lc3RhbXAiOjE0MzU3NjIxNjZ9) (https://d1iiivw74516uk.cloudfront.net/eyJidWNrZXQiOiJwcmVzdG8tY292ZXItaW1hZ2VzIiwia2V5IjoiNzk0MTM1MC4xLmpwZyIsImVkaXRzIjp7InJlc2l6ZSI6eyJ3aWR0aCI6OTAwfSwianBlZyI6eyJxdWFsaXR5Ijo2NX0sInRvRm9ybWF0IjoianBlZyJ9LCJ0aW1lc3RhbXAiOjE0NjQ3OTU3NjB9) (https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/414TYx5MnCL.jpg)
Title: Re: Op 47
Post by: Todd on December 16, 2020, 05:51:48 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51VJoDgqKJL._SY425_.jpg)

And finally, Zino Francescatti and Robert Casadesus.  No need to beat around the bush here, this is the greatest of the greats, always has been, and always will be.  Francescatti uses healthy dollops of vibrato, and perhaps not the most secure intonation in recorded history, but that matters not a whit, especially when Casadesus enters to back him up, laying down a perfectly judged and layered foundation.  Tempo choices are perfect.  Dynamics, though constricted by the age of the recording, sound spot-on, and energy level remains nearly as high as Papavrami/FFG, with greater degree of refinement.  The only mark against the duo is the exclusion of the repeat.  Francescatti and Casadesus offer an unsurpassed master class in how to deliver an Andante and variations movement that is both quick - too quick?  Nope - and yet perfectly poised, offering a classical approach and a perfect amount of variation in style, touch, sound, everything.  As Francescatti plays up and down, Casadesus shadows him with such synchronicity that one can tell they had performed the work together for decades before recording it.  The concluding Presto, too, sounds well nigh perfect in almost every regard, with Casadesus launching with potent chords, and then a collective backing off before a collective revving back up, with basically perfect everything all the way to the end.  As great as it ever was.

Title: Re: Op 47
Post by: Todd on December 16, 2020, 05:52:21 AM
Time to tier 'em up:

Top Tier
Francescatti/Casadesus
Cerovsek/Jumppanen
Perlman/Ashkenazy
Dusinberre/Korevaar
Kopatchinskaja/Say
Papavrami/FFG
Repin/Argerich
Ferras/Barbizet
Grumiaux/Haskil
Kulenkampff/Kempff


Second Tier
Capuçon/Braley
Cortot/Thibaud
Fouchenneret/Descharmes
Szeryng/Rubinstein
Keulen/Minnaar
Irnberger/Korstick
Faust/Melnikov
Dego/Leonardi
Shoji/Cascioli
Kremer/Argerich


Third Tier
Kavakos/Pace
Dumay/Pires
Kashimoto/Lifschitz
Schneiderhan/Kempff
Suk/Panenka
Zukerman/Barenboim
Zukerman/Neikrug
Kuls/Danczowska
Frank/Frank
Mutter/Orkis
Hanslip/Driver


Fourth Tier
Oistrakh/Oborin (mono)
Bartók/Szigeti
Boskovsky/Kraus
Heifetz/Smith
Kulenkampff/Solti
Kapustin/Koekkoek
Baráti/Würtz
Oistrakh/Oborin (stereo)
Nishizaki/Jandó
Taschner/Gieseking


Seventh Tier
Schröder/Immerseel
Title: Re: Op 47
Post by: Brass Hole on December 18, 2020, 08:55:49 AM
Bruch Kol Nidrei (All Wows) Op 47. I really like both of the adagio themes:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81B4PgtVeDL._SL1425_.jpg) (https://d1iiivw74516uk.cloudfront.net/eyJidWNrZXQiOiJwcmVzdG8tY292ZXItaW1hZ2VzIiwia2V5IjoiNzkyNTU0MC4xLmpwZyIsImVkaXRzIjp7InJlc2l6ZSI6eyJ3aWR0aCI6OTAwfSwianBlZyI6eyJxdWFsaXR5Ijo2NX0sInRvRm9ybWF0IjoianBlZyJ9LCJ0aW1lc3RhbXAiOjE0NjEwODQ2MjJ9)
(https://d1iiivw74516uk.cloudfront.net/eyJidWNrZXQiOiJwcmVzdG8tY292ZXItaW1hZ2VzIiwia2V5IjoiNzk1NDk5Mi4xLmpwZyIsImVkaXRzIjp7InJlc2l6ZSI6eyJ3aWR0aCI6OTAwfSwianBlZyI6eyJxdWFsaXR5Ijo2NX0sInRvRm9ybWF0IjoianBlZyJ9LCJ0aW1lc3RhbXAiOjE0MDE5ODI1NTd9) (https://d1iiivw74516uk.cloudfront.net/eyJidWNrZXQiOiJwcmVzdG8tY292ZXItaW1hZ2VzIiwia2V5IjoiNzk0MTU0NC4xLmpwZyIsImVkaXRzIjp7InJlc2l6ZSI6eyJ3aWR0aCI6OTAwfSwianBlZyI6eyJxdWFsaXR5Ijo2NX0sInRvRm9ybWF0IjoianBlZyJ9LCJ0aW1lc3RhbXAiOjE0NzExMzMzMzF9)