I have already reviewed three new versions of the Franck Sonata this year, and have few reservations in placing this splendidly polished CD at the top of the list, especially whilst taking into account the sensible coupling. As it stands the Chung/Lupu Decca LP would be a little expensive if transferred without additional works to the CD format, since the Debussy performance lasts for only 15 minutes or so. Their performances are more musically impressive than the newcomers; in the Franck Chung displays greater temperament than Mintz and certain passages are handled with greater expressivity—for instance, the obbligato episode in semiquavers in the third movement. Whilst Bronfman's pedal effects are a delight in the Franck, he can phraseRead more rather self-consciously at times. The recording quality of the much-admired Perlman/Ashkenazy performance (also on Decca) has not been greatly improved with transfer to CD; the violin lacks bloom.
In the Debussy, Chung and Lupu rise to the caprcious inventiveness of this the composer's last work in a way that makes the DG artists sound sober by comparison. Mints delineates his use of differing bowing techniques more than does Chung. Nevertheless, he is always elegant, with an immaculately pure tone. He has quite put behind him anything as mundane as problems of intonation.
Considerations in the Ravel Sonata are somewhat different, and here it is the French team of Dumay and Collard that are the most idiomatic (EMI Pathe Marconi). Neither Davidovich (Orfeo) nor Bronfman have quite got the 'blues' rhythm asked for in the second movement, the former almost allowing this to degenerate into a dirge (and Sitkovetsky's playing generally does not possess the technical refinement of the other two). The French players, who are well-recorded, opt for a faster initial tempo. Dumay's whirlwind playing of the perpetuum mobile finale leaves Mintz sounding rather careful, however fast his tempo may be. Taking into account the very engaging recording quality of this issue, the marvellously finished performances and the generously well-conceived coupling, I have no real hesitation in recommending this new disc.
Brilliant musicians bring Violin Sonatas to lifeNovember 15, 2013By B. Wilson (Sebastopol, CA)See All My Reviews"Although these three violin-and-piano sonatas are flawlessly executed, they seem to be empty of musical inspiration. They flounder without clear pattern or purpose, with only vague moments of clarity or interest. I bought the CD originally because I had played the Franck Sonata years ago, and I remembered the last movement fondly. Franck's composition seems more polished, more carefully conceived, and it ends with a real sense of victory and joy. Inspite of carefully reading the program notes from the enclosed jacket and usually enjoying Ravel and Debussy, I cannot feel any 'raison d'etre' for these compositions."Report Abuse