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Brahms: Sonatas Op. 38 & 99 / Pieter Wispelwey, Paul Komen


Release Date: 07/25/1994 
Label:  Channel Classics   Catalog #: 5493   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Paul KomenPieter Wispelwey
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 53 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Brahms completed his E minor Sonata, Op. 38, in 1865, following the death of his mother, and during the gestation of what was to become his German Requiem. A common key and predominantly sombre mood reveal sympathies with his Fourth Symphony, especially as both the Sonata’s fugal finale, and the closing Passacaglia of the Symphony have shared ancestry in Bach’s Art of Fugue. Peter Wispelwey’s performance is transparently cohesive, and has surprising architectural strength given that this is unusually lightweight Brahms playing. This lean-toned, athletic, yet uncompromisingly literal account is a far cry from the typically stoical, over-earnest Brahms playing which has done little to advance the cause of this music hitherto. But severity and Read more objectivity have their own concomitant drawbacks of course. One obvious result is that much of the surging passion which should be immediately enthralling, as the F major Sonata reaches heavenward at the outset, is missing here. But this is intellectually demanding music, with an alarming plethora of balance problems to overcome in performance. Pianist Paul Komen impresses with constant textual fidelity, and seemingly effortless mastery of the titanic piano part, performing on an instrument by Josef Riedel of Vienna, c. 1865. Wispelwey, too, has rich insight into this elusive and often thankless work which fails all too often in the recording studio. These artists offer stimulating, though never flamboyant readings of the Brahms Cello Sonatas, in superbly detailed and ideally balanced sound. Insert presentation and artwork are most attractive, but some notes on the music itself might have been more helpful than an essay on musical aesthetics and piano technology, however fascinating these issues may be.

-- Michael Jameson, BBC Music Magazine
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Works on This Recording

1. Sonata for Cello and Piano no 1 in E minor, Op. 38 by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Paul Komen (Piano), Pieter Wispelwey (Cello)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1862-1865; Austria 
Date of Recording: 09/1992 
Venue:  Protestant Church, Renswoude, Holland 
Length: 25 Minutes 10 Secs. 
2. Sonata for Cello and Piano no 2 in F major, Op. 99 by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Paul Komen (Piano), Pieter Wispelwey (Cello)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1886; Austria 
Date of Recording: 09/1992 
Venue:  Protestant Church, Renswoude, Holland 
Length: 26 Minutes 52 Secs. 

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