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The ten violin sonatas form a significant part of Beethoven’s oeuvre, and the complete recording made in 1966-67 occupies just as prominent a position in Josef Suk and Jan Panenka’s discography. When viewed with the distance of time, the album confirms its importance in the repertoire of the two great artists. The famed tone of Josef Suk’s violin is completely in the composer’s service, the instrument talks and sings, while Panenka’s take on Beethoven still astonishes with its wealth of articulation, purity of style and crystal-clear tone.
The understanding and harmony between the two artists is similar to the intimacy of an encounter between two old friends after being separated for a long time. Suk and Panenka’s performance is devoid of egoism – both of them subordinate their technical virtuosity and musicality to the composer’s genius. Hence, it comes as no surprise that almost half a century after it was made the recording still ranks among the most sought after complete Beethoven albums. It has now been newly digitised and sensitively remastered from the original tapes. The word “legendary” tends to be grossly overused, yet in connection with this recording and the two superlative musicians it is entirely fitting. Remastered Beethoven with Suk and Panenka – a legendary recording, a superb new sound.
“In the overwhelming majority of cases, and of movements, everything sounds perfectly scaled, well balanced, perceptively played and adroitly characterised. These are performances of great elegance and musicality...ten valuable, thoughtful and convincing performances from one of the most outstanding duos of its time.”
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