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Following hard on the heels of her critically acclaimed Bach Sonatas and Partitas (ONYX4040), this new CD of Beethoven’s 3rd and 9th violin sonatas sees Viktoria Mullova partner with fortepianist Kristian Bezuidenhout in performances that are both searching and exciting. This recording marks the 50th release from ONYX, and the 5th anniversary of the label.
Mullova’s plays on her 1750 Guadagnini with gut strings, and with a baroque bow by Walter Barbiero. Bezuidenhout plays a restored Viennese fortepiano dating from 1816.
Beethoven: Violin Sonata No.3 In E Flat Major, Op.12/3: - I. Allegro Con Spirito
Beethoven: Violin Sonata No.3 In E Flat Major, Op.12/3: - 2. Adagio Con Molt'Espressione
Beethoven: Violin Sonata No.3 In E Flat Major, Op.12/3: - 3. Rondo: Allegro Molto
Beethoven: Violin Sonata No.9 In A Major, Op.47, 'Kreutzer': - 1. Adagio Sostenuto - Presto - Adagio
Beethoven: Violin Sonata No.9 In A Major, Op.47, 'Kreutzer': - 2. Andante Con Variazioni
Beethoven: Violin Sonata No.9 In A Major, Op.47, 'Kreutzer': - 3. Presto
23rd May 2010
“[The Kreutzer is] freshly reimagined by Mullova. Her tense, wiry sound combines ideally with the 1822 piano that Bezuidenhout can pound to its very limits without overwhelming her; there is beautiful use of the quiet dampened register, which, combined with pizzicato violin, sounds magical.”
The Independent on Sunday
30th May 2010
“The pitch is dark (approximately a quarter tone below modern concert pitch), the articulation bold, the textures volatile...A provocative and highly expressive reading.”
1st June 2010
“Even the doubters and period-performance sceptics might be persuaded by the sheer musicality of these performances, and by the fresh blend and delicate balance of colours that they encompass...There is a real sense here of a musician doing something she believes in, not for any narrow “authentic” purpose but because it brings the music to life in a new way.”
11th June 2010
“A tone gritty but bright, notes and phrases crackling with fire...[Mullova]’s not the only source of sparks...Kristian Bezuidenhout [is] a fortepiano specialist of sparkling powers...Above all, the fortepiano and the gut-stringed violin bring extra excitement, danger even, to Beethoven’s music, never designed for purring quietly on a shelf.”
“Mullova's tone has enough variety and character not to need more than occasional touches of vibrato...Bezuidenhout remembers that pianists in Beethoven's day would often spread chords, and he and Mullova both add to the ebullient feeling with improvised flourishes.”
“[Mullova] shows a profoundly un-diva-ish appreciation of the way the relationship between the violin and piano changes in these two sonatas...In the earlier sonata it's Kristian Bezuidenhout's agility and minute clarity of articulation that dominate...Right from the start of the Kreutzer Mullova steps centre stage, as Beethoven obviously meant her to.”
16th October 2010
“Mullova sets a new benchmark for the Beethoven violin sonatas. Her disc has two defining characteristics – the “period” approach she and Bezuidenhout adopt, and the volatility and danger they find in the music. The two facets are interdependent...Mullova gives the music an invigorating sense of attack”
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