The young and trendy duo of Moldavian violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja and Turkish pianist Fazil Say rips deliriously into a highly enterprising program as if tomorrow were a chancy affair. It’s more than their hearts that they wear on their sleeves; they lay out their emotional guts in a dazzling display of virtuosity and breathtaking musical entertainment. At one moment in Beethoven’s “Kreutzer” sonata, Kopatchinskaja’s racing along, clipping eighth notes in a furious rush to the finish; at the next she’s finding aphrodisiacal sweetness in a simple, two-bar ritardando. Say follows a pounding accompaniment with a phrase of sudden elegance worthy of the slow movement of the “Emperor” Concerto. In Bartók’s six “Romanian Folk Dances,” Kopatchinskaja sometimes rips her pizzicati with destructive force, sometimes plucks lyrically with wonderfully expressive grace. Perhaps she doesn’t throw off Ravel’s pretty little Sonata with enough casual cool, but in Say’s 13-minute Violin Sonata, she captures all the magic of its moonlit beauty.
The Végh Quartet was not only one of the finest string quartets from mid-twentieth century Europe, but its style was never subjected to radical change over the years from personnel changes because the four original players remained members for 38 of the 40 years of the ensemble's existence. Its style evolved in subtle ways, of course, but its essential character endured until 1978: the quartet was Central European in its sound, with a bit more prominence given to the cello in order to build tonal qualities from the bottom upward. The Végh Quartet was best known for its cycles – two each – of the Beethoven and Bartók quartets. It also performed and recorded many of the Haydn quartets, as well as numerous other staples of the repertory by Mozart, Schumann, Brahms, and Debussy. For a group that disbanded in 1980, its recordings are still quite popular, with major efforts available in varied reissues from Music & Arts, Archipel, Naïve, and Orfeo.
Sonatas includes works by Ludwig van Beethoven, Béla Bartók and Magnus Lindberg performed by pianist Pasi Eerikäinen and violin player Emil Holmström - Beethoven’s titanic Violin Sonata No. 9, Op.47, the Kreutzer Sonata, Hungarian composer Béla Bartók’s Violin Sonata No. 2, one of the most compelling creations of the composer’s avant-garde period. Sonatas, a world premiere on this recording, is a relatively early work by the Finnish Magnus Lindberg. In this work, the composer’s influence all hail from traditional musical traditions – German, French and Italian – though instead of fixating on Baroque or Classical styles, Lindberg takes inspiration from notable 20th-century composers. Pasi Eerikäinen plays first violin with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra. Emil Holmström has a particular interest in the avant garde, be it Ferrucio Busoni, the Second Viennese School or electroacoustic music, which Holmström regularly performs as a member of the defunensemble.
It is extremely hard for any new recording to compete with the stunning 1967 Berlin account that Argerich made with the Berliner Philharmoniker under Abbado… Lang Lang certainly equals the boldness, power and communicative quality of Argerich’s account. Under the baton of Sir Simon Rattle the Berliner Philharmoniker is highly persuasive and sympathetic. Not for the first time the woodwind excel - marvellous. - Michael Cookson; www.musicweb-international.com
“The Alban Berg bring all their usual sophistication and Viennese hothouse climate to works which are sometimes illuminated by them, and equally often obscured.” ~BBC Music Magazine
The Tokyo String Quartet is second to none in their interpretations of Beethoven's magnificent and incomparable quartets. Beethoven's early, middle and late quartets reveal the evolution of the great master and one can only speculate the enormous challenges the musicians must face to remain true to this titan of western music. My bet is that the Tokyo String Quartet meets the criteria!