Notes and Editorial Reviews
"We find Kempff again asserting his personality on the Menuhin discs of Beethoven's violin sonatas. Around 1970 Menuhin was playing especially well, and Kempff is admirably crisp, though he does sometimes assert himself a little too much. On the Oistrakh/Philips discs Oborin is more reticent and better balanced but in consequence, perhaps, not quite so interesting. Menuhin is at his smoothest and silkiest in the lovely Spring Sonata—a little too leisurely, perhaps, in the slow movement—as also in the charming G major, Op. 96 which must be many people's favourite, and he is magnificent in the technical difficulties of the Kreutzer. (Unlike Oistrakh he makes all the repeats.) Occasionally the Menuhin discs reveal their age, and some of
the early sonatas, for instance the A minor Op. 23, sound as though they are being played to a large audience in a concert hall; Oistrakh and Oborin better suggest a chamber-music atmosphere and are a shade better balanced. But in the rather naive but charming early pieces Beethoven wrote for violin and piano Menuhin tones down his personality and with great charm captures the simplicity of the Rondo (the main tune, was subsequently purloined by Kreisler, with alterations). The music sounds as though it had been intended for beginners and is none the worse for that, beginners need more pieces of this quality. The 12 variations are on the first of the arias Figaro sings in Mozart's opera, ''Se vuol ballare''. These have touches of sophistication, and Beethoven actually quotes the tune correctly; usually when writing variations on someone else's tune he wrote it down from memory and made a number of small mistakes."
-- Gramophone [6/1987]
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