34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Beethoven's ten Violin Sonatas, except for the last, all date from the "First Period"; and some have questioned the gauging of the balance between the piano and violin, a problem during the time period. Perhaps that's why they aren't as well-known or as highly regarded as the less numerous trios, or the piano sonatas. But these ten works are fully worthy of Beethoven, and contain more than one undoubted masterpiece. IN the total of 33 movements Beethoven displays a remarkable command of form and nuance, and a fertility of invention, which are a delight. There are, nevertheless, a large number of complete sets available on CD, in which some of the finest violinists and pianists in the world are represented. None, however, surpasses, and very very few approach, the brilliance and power of this set, with Aaron Rosand (violin) and Eileen Flissler (piano). Compared with their full-blooded, passionate, involving interpretations, many others, even of the best, seem thin-blooded and pale in comparison. What's more, these three discs, totaling 235 minutes, come for the price of a single mid-priced CD! The fly in the ointment is the VOX engineering, which is a little uneven and rough at times; but it's a very SMALL fly, and such technical aspects are completely forgotten very very quickly. Rosand and Flissler are smooth, urbane, and engaging in the "Spring" Sonata, show a joyous simplicity in the delightful finale to the Third, point up the precocity of the Second in its witty first movement and melancholy slow movement; the Seventh, one of the masterpieces of the set, is given a wonderful performance, and their performance of the underappreciated Fourth, a harbinger of the "Appassionata" Sonata to follow, is dazzling, especially in the breathtaking Rondo finale, with its rushing angst; and the crowning achievement of this set of magnificent performances is the rendition of the Kreutzer Sonata, an interpretation no one else rivals: the raw power, wildness, and agitation of the first movement (one of the signal masterpieces of early Beethoven) is second to none: the remarkable third subject, first in the piano with pizzicato bursts in the violin, is truly unforgettable. These sonatas should be in everyone's collection, and if you spent five times the cost of this set, you still will never find a better!