Sonata in A for Piano and Violin, Op.47 (Kreutzer)
Sonata in G for Piano and Violin, Op.96
Edward Dusinberre (violin) & David Korevaar (piano)
Recorded 6-9 August 2009 in Wyastone Concert Hall, Wye Valley, UK
Reviewed by: Colin Anderson
Reviewed: July 2010
CD No: DECCA 476 3898
Duration: 66 minutes
Hot on the heels of Viktoria Mullova and Kristian Bezuidenhout’s fascinating ‘authentic’-leaning recording of Beethoven’s ‘Kreutzer’ Sonata (employing a violin with gut strings played with a lighter bow and the use of an 1822 fortepiano), but recorded a few months before it, Edward Dusinberre (leader of the Takács Quartet) and David Korevaar give us a traditional, powerful and romantic view of the music, both players exploiting their ‘modern’ instruments to the full.
This is a meaty and fiery performance featuring playing of unstinting intensity but which is generated from the music itself. Following a thoughtful and pregnant slow introduction, the first movement is given a ballsy outing, driven but not hectic, combative in the instruments, their executants excelling as a partnership, and with rumination and withdrawal when required. The as-long second movement (a Theme and Variations) is richly moulded, with mechanical passages yielding to those that are exquisitely turned and sounded. The finale returns to the crusade of the opening movement, multiple-stopping passages given full extraction by Dusinberre.
The violinist supplies the booklet note, one that may potentially confuse if you read Dusinberre’s comments regarding Tolstoy’s novel, “The Kreutzer Sonata” in relation to Beethoven’s work, which could be muddled as being contemporaneous rather than retrospective. Leo Tolstoy was born in 1828, the year after Beethoven died. The Russian’s novel dates from 1889 (Beethoven’s piece is from 1803); and while the music may play its part in the narrative of the book, Dusinberre might have clarified that Beethoven composed his A major violin sonata for George Bridgetower, and that following a falling-out between composer and violinist he dedicated the work to another violinist, Rodolphe Kreutzer.
That aside, this is serious, large-scale music-making (all repeats observed), apt for the piece, yet a little more light and shade would have been welcome, so too some wit, but there is a vividness and a strength of purpose that is compelling, the musicians entwined as one, and recorded as a true duo. This coupling of Beethoven’s last two violin sonatas concludes with the lyrically-biased G major, separated from the ‘Kreutzer’ by nine years and forty-nine opus numbers. Dusinberre and Korevaar give an affecting account, mellow, searching, dancing and charming, but never lightweight or condescending, capturing well the work’s valedictory, sometimes-serene nature – but it is only a farewell to this combination of instruments, for there were thirty-plus more opuses to come, including several piano sonatas, “Missa solemnis”, ‘Choral’ Symphony, Diabelli Variations and the five ‘late’ string quartets.
Superbly recorded, and presumably in the same location as Mullova and Bezuidenhout (for all the respective record companies give the place a different if similar name), Dusinberre and Korevaar give (as demanded) scorching and intimate performances that are full of juice and from-the-heart song and very much to be commended.