Brilliant Classics has certainly struck gold with these two artists - this Brahms set is every bit as good as their complete Beethoven Sonatas (also on Brilliant). Gorgeously recorded, with warmth and immediacy, this duo has a natural flair of bringing out every ounce of passion and fire, yet also such freshness - as if discovering the music anew. I have gained much pleasure listening to this team in both this Brahms and their Beethoven set.
As a musician, as a man of ideals, and as a true world citizen, Yehudi Menuhin made an extraordinary mark on his era. The Menuhin Century commemorates the 100th anniversary of his birth on 22 April 1916.
Following on the heels of his highly successful recording of the Beethoven Violin Concerto, Russian violinist Vadim Repin continues his survey of the core repertoire with this album featuring the Brahms Violin Concerto and Double Concerto. Accompanied by the Gewandhaus Orchestra under Riccardo Chailly, Repin' performance of Brahms is every bit as sensitive, vivacious, and well-thought-out as his Beethoven.
By combining the 120 extant measures of Mozart's unfinished Concerto in D major for violin and piano, K. App. 56 (K. 315f) with the Sonata in D major for piano and violin, K. 306, composer Philip Wilby has fashioned a performing version that seems reasonably backed by musical evidence, competent in orchestration, and perhaps ingenious enough to meet the approval of some Mozartians. Unfortunately for listeners seeking a major revelation, this reconstruction is short on the felicitous surprises and touching expressions one might find in a fully conceived work by Mozart, and seems a bit ordinary in substance and artificial in development.
A 19th-century ‘trio sonata’. Isabelle Faust and Alexander Melnikov have already given us an acclaimed version Brahms’s First Violin Sonata, in 2007. They now complete the cycle with the other two sonatas of 1886 and 1888, and add a fascinating rarity dating from 35 years earlier: the ‘F-A-E’ Sonata, a collaborative effort by three composers in honour of the great violinist Joachim, who had to guess who had written which movement! He did so with ease, for the Scherzo is as eminently Brahmsian as the Intermezzo and Finale are Schumannesque. Alexander Melnikov will be contributing his take on a score his mother gave him that belonged to Sviatoslav Richter in September BBC Music Magazine.
Baiba Skride is not just one of the most sought-after artists when it comes to finding a soloist for one of the great violin concertos. She is also much in demand for chamber music. This makes her ideal for her new recording, her first on the ORFEO label, devoted to the work of Johannes Brahms. It is a highly promising start to our collaboration with this First-Prize winner of the Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels in 2001.
Brahms's three sonatas have been recorded many times, but there is always room for another interpretation as interesting as this one. These two players are consummate masters of their instruments; their approach is highly personal, but thoughtful, genuinely felt, and respectful of the text, with meticulously observed dynamics and carefully shaped phrases. The collaboration is impeccable, though it seems based on an attraction of opposites.
Jennifer Pike, who won the BBC Young Musician of the Year competition at the tender age of 12, appears to have survived the perils of prodigyhood and entered her early twenties with musical intelligence intact. Here she offers a terrific program of music from the middle of the 19th century; all of it is abstract, but it brings vividly to mind the crucial trio of creative figures who met in the early 1850s: the ailing Robert Schumann, his musically frustrated wife Clara, and the young Johannes Brahms, mooning over the latter. The Brahms Violin Sonata No. 1, Op. 78, was written some years after that, but it seems to hark back to that time, not least in its dedication to Felix Schumann, Robert and Clara Schumann's youngest child.