Day 229: Violin Sonatas IV

BeethovenCD34What a terrific way to start a day!

Movement I (“Adagio sostenuto – Presto”) from Violin Sonata No. 9 in A Op. 47 “Kreutzer” is a corker. Brisk, expressive, and dynamic; it’s everything a Beethoven composition should be.

The performers are the same as they’ve been for the past few Violin Sonata CDs:

Kristof Barati violin
Klara Wurtz piano

But there’s something especially magical about this sonata, a fun melody that alternates between the violin and the piano as it expresses itself. It has that ask-and-answer quality that I like where one instrument will play a short passage and then the other will repeat it, back and forth.

This movement almost has a kind of Hungarian feel to it.

And pizzicato! Yes, pizzicato, my old friend. Toward the end of Movement I, as things are really syncopated and dynamic, the violin plays a bit of pizzicato as the counterpoint to the piano’s dynamics. It’s particularly arresting. It happens around the 10:45 mark in the piece.

I have to say, this movement, from this Piano Sonata, could very well be one of my favorite pieces from Beethoven. This is tremendously compelling music.

The above YouTube clip is not from this morning’s listening. Featured on that clip are violinist Itzhak Perlman and pianist Vladimir Ashkenazy. The recording on the YouTube clip is from 1973. It’s a fine recording, and they are fine musicians. But, truth be told, I prefer the dynamics of Kristof and Klara for this piece.

By the way, in the YouTube clip, my favorite part comes around the 9:25 mark.

It’s time to let my fingers do the walking into Google Land for a moment. I need to find out more about Piano Sonata No. 9 in A Op. 47 “Kreutzer.”

Ahh, and so I discover what Continue reading

Day 227: Violin Sonatas II

BeethovenCD32Two violin sonatas await the lucky listener on today’s CD:

Violin Sonata No. 4 in A Minor Op. 23 (composed 1800-1801; Beethoven was 30-31)

Violin Sonata No. 5 in F Op. 24 “Spring” (composed 1801; Beethoven was 31)

Both are performed eloquently by Kristof Barati on violin and Klara Wurtz on piano.

I should have looked up Klara Wurtz sooner because what I found out about her is interesting:

Klára Würtz (Budapest, 1965) is a Hungarian pianist. She is married to the Dutch label manager Pieter Shop Brilliant Classics, and since 1996 living in Amsterdam. Würtz teaches at the Utrecht Conservatory.

Her career has ups and downs; periods of action are interspersed with silences. After the birth of her daughter (2004), it may not play because of tendinitis in her hands for a year. But according to her is not her ambition to “a toppianiste” to be., As they say themselves,

Her many musical recordings covering mainly the Classical and Romantic period: Mozart , Beethoven , Brahms , Schubert, Schumann, Tchaikovsky.

That was translated using Google translations for the Wikipedia article. So it’s not precise in its wording. But I think we get the gist of it.

What I found most interesting is that she’s married to the man who manages Brilliant Classics, the record label on which this recording resides.

In the Classical music world, two labels used to rule Continue reading

Day 226: Violin Sonatas I

BeethovenCD31Today’s CD represents a very nice change of pace from the previous series of Piano Trios and Cello Sonatas.

Musicians are:

Kristof Barati violin
Klara Wurtz piano

They are exceptional, and an inspired pairing.

Compositions are:

Violin Sonata No. 1 in D Op. 12 No. 1 (composed 1797-1798; Beethoven was 27 or 28)

Violin Sonata No. 2 in A Op. 12 No. 2 (composed 1797-1798; Beethoven was 27 or 28)

Violin Sonata No. 3 in E Flat Op. 12 No. 3 (composed 1797-1798; Beethoven was 27 or 28)

This is entertaining, compelling, lively music…and soulful, pensive, melancholy music.

In short, Beethoven’s violin sonatas are perfect for whatever mood you’re in.

Day 225: Cello Sonatas II, Cello Variations

BeethovenCD30There are 59 tracks on today’s CD, representing five different compositional sections:

Cello Sonata in C Op. 102 No. 1

Cello Sonata in D Op. 102 No. 2

12 Variations Wo045

12 Variations Op. 66

7 Variations Wo046

Musicians are:

Timora Rosler cello

Klara Wurtz piano

Cello Sonata in D Op. 102 No. 2 is splendid. The variations are fun, especially if you like piano music with lots and lots of notes, which I do.

Day 224: Cello Sonatas I

BeethovenCD29Just two musicians are making all of this beautiful music!

They are:

Timora Rosler cello
Klara Wurtz piano

The level of musicianship is outstanding. The full, rich, dynamic sounds emanating from this duo need to be heard to be believed. I realize the lion’s share of credit goes to Ludwig himself who composed these sonatas. But, still, they’re played with extraordinary skill.

Cello Sonata in F Op. 5 No. 1 (composed 1796; Beethoven was 26)

Cello Sonata in G Minor Op. 5 No. 2 (composed 1796; Beethoven was 26)

Cello Sonata in A Op. 69 (composed in 1808; Beethoven was 38)

Of the last sonata, its entry on Wikipedia says this:

The Sonata No. 3 dates from Beethoven’s most productive compositional period. Composed in the same year were the Violin Concerto and the two piano trios of Op. 70; the same year also saw the completion and publication of the Fifth and Sixth Symphonies.