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Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770 - 1827)
The Sonatas for Piano and Violin
Sonata No 1 D Major. Op.12 No 1 [22.21]
Sonata No 2 A Major. Op. 12 No 2 [17.23]
Sonata No 3 E Flat Major. Op. 12 No 3 [19.42]
Sonata No 8 G Major. Op. 30 No 3 [17.51]
CD2 [81.04]
Sonata No 4 A Minor. Op 23 [17.16]
Sonata No 5 F Major. Op. 24 "Spring" [21.45]
Sonata No 9 A Major. Op 47 "Kreutzer" [41.53]
CD3 [76.55]
Sonata No 6 A Major. Op 30 No 1 [24.04]
Sonata No 7 C Minor. Op 30 No 2 [27.17]
Sonata No 10. G Major. Op 96 [25.25]

Wilhelm Kempff (piano) Wolfgang Schneiderhan (violin)
Recorded Konzerthaus, Mozartsaal, Vienna. Sept 1952 ADD MONO Recordings
DGG Originals 463 605-2 [235.30]
£17.99    Amazon UK   £19.99

This is a bulk purchase. All 10 Sonatas for Piano and Violin, as the composer himself chose to refer to them, on three CDs played by two of the 20th century's leading Beethoven performers. They were recorded in mono at sessions in September 1952 and the three disc box - now in DG's The Originals Series - is being issued to mark Wolfgang Schneiderhan's eighty-fifth birthday.

Although a great admirer of the two players as individuals this set is new to me. They were not regular partners on the platform but the two men were brought together by Deutsche Grammophon for the studio recordings. Kempff, of course has recorded the Piano Sonatas magificently and made heart-warming discs of the Piano Concertos. Coincidentally earlier today I was playing (just for pleasure - nothing to do with a revue) Shneiderhan's towering performance of the Beethoven Concerto (Eugen Jochum / Berlin Philharmonic). This is the version in which Schneiderhan uses his own re-writing of Beethoven's cadenzas that he wrote for the Piano version of the Concerto and which make a "and now for something completely different" statement. Kempff went on to make a highly regarded set of the Sonatas with Yehudi Menuhin in the seventies and these later recordings were later chosen by DG when selections were needed for compilation releases. No doubt too, the Marketing people had a view that stereo is always better then mono. Hence the Schneiderhan / Kempff recordings have been out of the catalogue for years.

The set is splendid - two great performers playing great music and as such it inevitably must have a strong recommendation. These are bench-mark recordings from the older school of central European scholarship that now qualify as historical. They are poised and structured with the precision and clarity of the duo's individual contributions notable - almost fastidious at times but without losing any of the writing's power and emotion. Most people will dip into the set and perhaps try at first the two named works - the Spring and the Kreutzer - and will undoubtedly like what they hear (just try the Adagio from the Spring Sonata). There is a great sense of logic in the music and this sense of line, of development, is strongly felt throughout.

If there is a failing it would be in the recording balance that has the piano behind a prominent violin and one is aware that this is an early fifties recording.


Harry Downey


Harry Downey

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