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Brahms & Schubert - Violin Sonatas
Michael Jelden/Fabiana Biasini

Brahms Sonatas op. 120, Nr.1, f-moll; & op.120, Nr.2, Es-Dur
Schubert Arpeggione Sonata D-821, a-moll, in der Bearbeitung des Komponisten für Violine und Klavier


Hera M&V 02102 [61 mins: 1997] info@klassikcenter-kassel.de

This is a most unusual CD, a second one to demonstrate the questing nature of pianist Fabiana Biasini, whose pioneering exploration of the compositions of Joseph Hofmann had impressed me so greatly that I asked to review her others

One is so used to thinking of these sonatas as belonging to the clarinet (with the viola a very acceptable alternative) and Schubert's to the cello that it is quite a surprise to find that there were legitimate transcriptions for the violin, and that they all sound very well on that over-provided instrument.

The violin versions by Brahms himself were published in 1897; he had written to Simrock "- - since you are not interested in original works but only in their arrangements - - quite a bit would have to be changed - - I shall wait - - as the original might not be ordered in the first place".

The history of the still-born arpeggione (a fretted small cello, "anathema before it was even built") and of Schubert's popular work conceived for it, is even more bizarre, and the CD notes argue persuasively that this version 'carries as much legitimacy as those for cello and viola heard relatively often'.

Alert ensemble and smooth, natural playing by Michael Jelden, who relishes the relative ease of the music on his instrumentgood; this CD is more than just a novelty. Recommended.

© Peter Grahame Woolf