A perfect marriage
Peter Chordas | Portland, OR USA | 02/24/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am very surprised that no one has reviewed this CD as of to date. Both Sonatas #5 and #9 here are wonderful. They require a minimum of three listenings; one focusing exclusively on the piano, another on the violin, and then the third on both in unison as one. You will be amazed at how much you have missed. Kempff has always been known for his masculine playing of Beethoven and the same goes here but in this case, Menuhin softens and compliments him with his sweet lyricism on the violin. Together they produce a perfect balance and sensitive rendition of these two pieces.
The Sonata #5 (Spring) is a delightful blend of phrasing by both violin and piano runs. It sort of reminds me of Schubert's Trout quintet. It is full of emotion; happiness, solitude, and beauty. From the very beginning, you sense the music is taking you somewhere. And it does; just like spring.
Sonata #9 (Kreutzer) comes close to symphonic, which was Beethoven's intent. Full of expression and technicality, the violin starts off enthusiastic and energetic with emphatic cords. Each movement is rich with highs and lows. The ending of the final movement comes back to the beginning of the first, delivered in a perfect package.
I love how Menuhin and Kempff create a chemistry here that surpasses most renditions I have heard of these two pieces. Neither overpowers the other. They both allow each other to speak but recede when the time is right to let the other step forward. It truly is a perfect marriage. The recordings took place in 1970 on analogue and are clean and pure. These two pieces highly compliment each other and make for a perfect coupling on one CD."