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Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

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Len Mullenger:

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
Violin Sonata in A, Op. 47, 'Kreutzer'.
Partita for Violin and Piano.
Alban Beikircher (violin); Mathias Huth (piano).
 Arte Nova 74321 67523-2 [DDD] [56'27]
 Bargain Price

Eye-catching programming from two young artists at super-budget price seems at first glance to be too good to be true. Coupling one of the best loved of all violin sonatas with a Lutoslawski filler is bound to raise some eyebrows, and certainly whets the appetite.

Unfortunately, the promise is far from realised. The dry recording only serves to emphasise Beikircher's abrasive tone quality. The opening violin chords of the Beethoven, often problematic, are here just uncomfortable. Throughout the performance the duo is best suited to the more lyrical passages, which only serves to put into relief the literal way they stomp through anything remotely dynamic. Accents are mostly harsh and unsubtle and any wit in this sonata is completely missed. There are too many other recommendable versions for this amateurish account to be considered seriously.

Whilst Beikircher find some lyricism in the Lutoslawski's Partita, he completely misses the intensity of the Largo (the most substantial movement). Go to Mutter's account of the version with orchestra on DG 423 696-2 (coupled with Chain 2 and a simply stunning version of the Stravinsky Violin Concerto) for a real musical experience.

Disappointing in the extreme.

Colin Clarke



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