Notes and Editorial Reviews
This is one terrific disc. Christian Tetzlaff made a first-rate recording of Bartók's Second Violin Concerto for this same label (under Michael Gielen) way back in 1991 and coupled it with the Sonata for Solo Violin. For many listeners, that performance became one of the reference recordings of the work; certainly this remake is of the same quality. Tetzlaff has tightened up the second and fourth movements ever so slightly, but interpretively he presents essentially the same performance--and I have to say I find this coupling more appropriate. Either way, his ability to phrase in long lines and sustain tension in such passages as the busy second-movement fugue remains second to none.
Indeed, Leif Ove Andsnes
gives an absolutely spectacular account of Bartók's ferociously difficult piano parts while at the same time proving himself the most sensitive of partners. To cite just one telling example, Andsnes launches the finale of the expressionistic First Sonata at full force and maintains that impression through every hair-raising musical twist and turn--but he never covers Tetzlaff or sounds as though he's banging, and for his part Tezlaff fiddles away like the very devil. Sure, the music of both works is some of the most advanced and challenging that Bartók wrote, but the difficulty of the frequently atonal idiom vanishes in the face of such compelling playing.
Virgin's sonics offer ideal balances in the two sonatas, permitting both players plenty of space and dynamic range within a coherent sound stage. In the solo sonata, Tetzlaff's breathing sometimes intrudes a bit more than I like, and the closer balance really wasn't necessary, but it certainly doesn't detract from the performance (the opening of the finale, with its insect-like buzzing, still sounds magical). If you're looking for a convenient way to get this music on a single disc, look no further. [7/1/2004]
--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com Read less
Works on This Recording
Be the first to review this title