Beethoven Violin Sonatas from BIS

Fine, intelligent performances, well worth seeking out

Beethoven Violin Sonatas from BIS

This is the third and final volume in Frank Peter Zimmermann and Martin Helmchen's Beethoven Violin Sonata cycle for BIS. Released September 3, this is a finely balanced recital of three sonatas, appropriately concluding with Beethoven's final offering in that genre: you can find Classical Explorer's post on Sonatas Nos. 5-7 here.

The first movement of Op. 10/3 is finely wrought. This is chamber music at its best, with the two as absolute equals. And just listen to the fine recording!:

Rarely have I heard such virtuosity in chamber musc as in the finale:

The "Kreutzer" is one ofthe most famous violin sonatas of all, of course. Here, adorned by the odd flourish from Zimmermann, is a performance of youthful vivacity. Here, in the first moveent, energy is everywhere:

Its the sweetness of Zimmermann's violin that is notable in the central set of variations (he plays a 1711 Stradivarius, teh so-called "Lady Inchiquin"). We should note the clarity of the piano also: it's a Chris Mean "parallel string" piano - by which technique the manufacturer aims to combine the sonorous richenss of earlier instruments with the clarity of a modern grand. He does appear to have succeeded; it feels that this is the perfect partner to Zimmermann's Strad, as we can hear from the dialogue that opens the finale:

The final sonata on the disc is the G-Mahor, Op. 96, which dates from 1812, nin eyears after the "Kreutzer". It's here that we find the most magical music making on the disc: the first movement is a perfect balance between the instruments, and beautifully, unhurriedly paced:

Certainly we can hear the piano's resonance in the theme ofteh Adagio espressivo:

The third movement of thsi sonata is a little sliver of a piece, but listen to the energy Zimmermann and Helmchen pack into this:

With the Adagio espressivo section of the ifnale, Zimmermann and Helmchen seem to reminds us that we are now in late Beethoven (third period) territory.

Fine, intelligent performances, well worth seeking out.