Notes and Editorial Reviews
These are really impressive performances. Angele Dubeau and Anton Kuerti are at one in maintaining the intimate tone of Schubert’s three ‘easy’ 1816 sonatinas; they manage to make each detail expressive, yet keeping to a natural, unforced utterance. It helps, in such memorably tuneful music, that they both know exactly how to present a singing, legato melodic line. Even when playing very quietly, Dubeau keeps some tension in the way the notes are joined together; this art, which many modern string-players seem to have forgotten, enables her to convey effortlessly the feeling behind the notes – the sweet melancholy of the minor episode in D384’s Andante, for instance. The lively music, such as the finales of D384 and D408, is played with
splendid verve, and they’re aware, too, of the more dramatic moments.
But here we get to the major drawback of this issue – the recording quality. By comparison with DG’s vivid, beautifully balanced recording of Kremer and Maisenberg, this sounds dim and distant. The violin, especially, lacks presence, and matters are only marginally improved by playing the CD at a high level. I found Kremer and Maisenberg less ideal as interpreters, however. Next to Dubeau and Kuerti, their approach to the music seems very pro-active and fussy – continually making little points rather than finding the natural shape for each phrase. Grumiaux’s fine 1971 account with Veyron-Lacroix is also not perfectly recorded – here it’s the violin that’s too close and prominent, heightening a tendency of Grumiaux to overplay the music – a bit like Brunnhilde cast as Susanna.
So it’s Kremer and Maisenberg for a great-sounding recording, but Dubeau and Kuerti for the most winning, affecting interpretation.
-- Duncan Druce, Gramophone [10/1997, reviewing original release]
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