Rondeau brilliant in B minor, D895
Sonata for Piano and Violin in F, Op.24 (Spring)
Sonata for Violin and Piano in E flat, Op.18
Itzhak Perlman (violin) & Bruno Canino (piano)
Reviewed by: Robert Matthew-Walker
Reviewed: 13 November, 2007
Venue: Barbican Hall, London
Three nineteenth-century works made up this recital. Apart from the Beethoven, the two other works are not frequently heard in recital, so there were additional factors, other than the eminence of the violinist, which combined to draw a full house for this exceptional artist and his equally exceptional partner.
Opening with Schubert’s extended Rondeau from 1826, it was immediately apparent that we were witnessing very fine music-making. With these musicians, the music lay at the heart of their performance, relishing Schubert’s humour and subtleties, bringing them out without emphasising these aspects unduly, and with a warm and natural appreciation of the nature of the music – which, despite such advocacy, does not always show the composer at his best.
Beethoven’s ‘Spring’ Sonata received a performance of considerable penetration and insight, both musicians exhibiting a profound understanding of the music to a degree that made one pause and consider if any other duo currently before the public could have matched their integrity in placing their artistry totally at the service of the composer.
The second half comprised Richard Strauss’s Sonata of 1887-8, a very different proposition from either of the works that preceded it, but this less than fundamentally inspired or original work found Perlman and Canino as one, relishing the rich Romanticism of the piece without losing sight of the young composer’s desire to match his distinguished contemporaries.
These three advertised works having been given with such mastery, Perlman then announced – as indicated in the programme – the works he intended to play as ‘encores’, to the audience’s unalloyed delight.