Notes and Editorial Reviews
This is an enjoyable disc, notable first of all for engineering that balances the violin against the piano very realistically. The perspective is close, but not oppressively so, and optimal for the kind of clarity Brahms demands, say, when the violin has to play pizzicato against the piano. Both artists display a genuinely attractive tone. Pianist Peter Longworth manages to create plenty of variety through touch and articulation while keeping dynamics within sensible bounds. Mark Fewer attacks his violin part with considerable passion (especially in the turbulent D minor sonata), but his double-stopping never sounds crude, and he can play softly without losing fullness of timbre. This last ability is a real gift, and so important to this
music--not just in the slow movements.
So the bottom line is that these performances are a pleasure in purely sonic terms. They are also successful interpretations. In the first sonata, the longest of the three, Fewer and Longworth hold the first movement together very effectively, and if they haven't quite solved the problem of how to deal with the finale's "molto moderato" indication, well, they're in good company. From the Second sonata on everything goes very well indeed. Its "Dumka"-like second movement sounds marvelous, and in this work the finale really does have satisfying energy and manages to be "grazioso" at the same time. And as already suggested, the D minor sonata lacks nothing in expressive power or technical polish. Recommended as a nice alternative or supplement to the reference version listed.
--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
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