Violin Sonatas 1, 2 & 3
1CD | Challenge Classics | 0608917219425 | CC 72194 | 01-07
Articulation and balance in this recording were developed from the way the instruments were handled. Ilia Korol plays a violin of Cai von Stietencron in the traditional style of Cremona, Italy; however, it features ‘modernisations’ of the kind that were usual in the period of Brahms. In other words the neck, bass-bar, finger board and bridge were altered to achieve a more brilliant, powerful tone. But in Vienna gut strings were still being used; this recording follows suit.
Natalia Grigorieva plays a Streicher grand piano of 1870, one which is probably very close to the instrument that in 1868 Brahms received as a present from the firm of Streicher for his flat in Vienna. The bass is powerful, very sonorous, rich in overtones and never muffled; the high notes are clear and focussed, without being pointed.
The piano plays the role as an equal partner with the violin, so that one sometimes gains the impression of listening to an animated conversation between friends, as in the first movement of the G major Sonata: at the opening the piano lays the harmonic foundation for the violin’s melody; then it blends itself in, at first cautiously, then more forthrightly, enlivens the theme, argues, interrupts the violin either in agreement or in contradiction, disputes with it, makes up with it, before the two instruments together come to a conclusion.
Brahms wrote his Violin Sonata in G, op. 78, in Bonn in 1878-9. After a well disposed, lively Vivace ma non troppo the mood is reversed in a serious Adagio. In the third movement Brahms quotes from Regenlied op. 59 no. 3 (text by Klaus Groth), written a few years before.
The earliest sketches of the A major Sonata op. 100 date from the summer of 1883, while he worked on the Third Symphony. Brahms himself pointed out that in the first movement motives from his Lieder can be found, above all Wie Melodien zieht es mir, op. 105 no. 1; it can no longer be established which was written first, the Lied or the Sonata.
The Sonata in d minor op. 108 is of a different character; the opening movement presents a restless picture of interpenetrating layers of mood. It leads to an Adagio that begins in almost chorale-like fashion after which the theme is then dissipated in ‘Hungarian’ or ‘Gipsy’ style with its improvisatory gestures. The final movement is a stormy rondo, but whereas by tradition the theme of a final movement is tonally closed, Brahms here uses a refrain that is tonally open and therefore of the type that would normally be found in an opening movement; to a certain extent he refuses to consider his statement finished.
moderntimes_1800 ist ein junges Kammerorchester aus Innsbruck, tritt als historisches oder modernes Kammerorchester auf, aber auch in kleineren Besetzungen und ist mit internationalen Spezialisten besetzt. Es wurde in der Absicht gegründet, einen Klangkörper aus einer neuen Generation von Musikern zu bilden, die in der historischen Aufführungspraxis ebenso beheimatet sind wie in der Musik des 20. Jahrhunderts. Die beiden Brahms-Sonaten erklingen in unerhörter Perfektion und Lebendigkeit.
1Sonata No. 1 in G Major, Op. 78I. Vivace ma non troppo
2Sonata No. 1 in G Major, Op. 78II. Adagio - Più andante - Adagio
3Sonata No. 1 in G Major, Op. 78III. Allegro molto moderato
4Sonata No. 2 in A Major, Op. 100I. Allegro amabile
5Sonata No. 2 in A Major, Op. 100II. Andante tranquillo - Vivace
6Sonata No. 2 in A Major, Op. 100III. Allegretto grazioso
7Sonata No. 3 in D Minor, Op. 108I. Allegro
8Sonata No. 3 in D Minor, Op. 108II. Adagio
9Sonata No. 3 in D Minor, Op. 108III. Un poco presto e con sentimento
10Sonata No. 3 in D Minor, Op. 108IV. Presto agitato