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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, personal interpretation, 17 Dec 2004
This review is from: Brahms: The Violin Sonatas (Audio CD)
This is a most beautiful, personal interpretation of these beautiful works. It perfectly captures the passion, lyricism and introspection of these sonatas with true musicality. I still own this recording on LP, a wonderful Decca 1960s release, and have played it countless times. Each playing seems to yield new joys - true music making. A masterpiece.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A disc worthy of the 'legends' description, 3 Aug 2013
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I. Giles (Argyll, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Brahms: The Violin Sonatas (Audio CD)
This well recorded disc from 1967 contains the first full set of the three Brahms violin sonatas and, as such, Decca threw down the gauntlet to anyone following on. Their faith in this set of recordings has proved to be well founded as, even today over 40 years later, this disc is still considered a reference set of performances and the recording has achieved a new lease of life in its latest re-mastering.

Recordings made on analogue tape simply had a wider signal range than that possible on the early CDs which explains why so many collectors with high end LP players were disappointed by the lack of range and realism of the new CD medium. It is only with this latest set of remastering that modern listeners are able to experience the sounds previously enjoyed by those LP enthusiasts. Just how much was missing on those early CDs can readily be heard on this new generation of discs, including this one. There is greater dynamic range, frequency range, depth of field and general sense of 'presence.'

The performances themselves are superb, taking us through the earlier and more serene first two sonatas to the more dramatic and larger scaled third sonata in one creative overview. Suk's violin tone is not large or heavy such as can be found in many Russian players, not does it have the steely edge found in some American players. Instead it is smaller, precisely focussed, quite a sweet sound but with a distinct cutting edge. This is ideally suited to his chamber music by Brahms and Katchen proves to be a most sympathetic partner. It was Decca's idea to partner them together, but this was so successful that the pair went on to form the very successful Suk trio with Janos Starker on cello.

There have been other fine sets of these sonatas since 1967 of course, and I would include Mullova/Anderszewski and Osostowicz/Tomes on CD and Mutter/Orkis on dvd/Blu-ray for further reference. All three of those additional sets bring different personalities and violin tone to bear on these works.

There can never be a definitive version of such staple repertoire, but it can confidently be stated that Suk and Katchen must be considered as belonging to the very best. As such this disc continues to deserve serious consideration as a purchase option, particularly in its remastered state.

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Some dialogue from the comments section that may offer further help:

I thought that you might like to know that before I buy a recording I now look through all the reviews to see if you have posted one. Your assessments and opinions are invaluable. Thank you. (US review)

I particularly like your format of review. They give the prospective purchaser an idea of the style of the playing and relevant comparisons. They are succinct. Keep up the good work! (UK review)

I'm sure there are many other serious collectors, besides myself, who wait for your synopsis and opinion before spending their hard-earned money on new releases...
Keep up the good work!
Thank you (UK review)

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Purely sublime..., 2 Jan 2011
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DaddyD (San Diego, CA USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Brahms: The Violin Sonatas (Audio CD)
Incredible performances...otherworldly...takes you to a place where you will want to visit often...Brahms is a need that has to be unraveled...dealt with, and these performers allow you do that...the autumn winds permeate this late music...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic recording, 11 Oct 2013
This review is from: Brahms: The Violin Sonatas (Audio CD)
Although somewhat dated in sound quality terms, this is a fine set of performances - benchmark against which all others should be assessed.
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Brahms: The Violin Sonatas
Brahms: The Violin Sonatas by Johannes Brahms (Audio CD - 2013)
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