Superb Set~Bargan Price!...
Sébastien Melmoth | Hôtel d'Alsace, PARIS | 03/12/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
The genre of the Violin Sonata may be the most perfect abstract form for greatest universal expressivity.
The Austro/Germans made great use of it: viz., Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Brahms, Reger, et al.
Moreover, beginning perhaps with César Franck, the Franco/Belgians made the form their own. This may be because the pricision and clarity of the form appeals to the Gallic sensibility. Surely the genre conveys the Franco/Belgian ethos: the combination of the piano's timbre and the violin's tessitura (with additional features of col legno and pizzicato) make it the perfect vehicle of expression.
Withal, we have this wonderful issue of great art, great performances, great techne and sound--all at a bargan price. Hard to go wrong here: we get Fauré, Franck, Lekeu, Ysaÿe, Vieuxtemps, Debussy, and Ravel.
Alberic Magnard | Guillaume Lekeu: Violin Sonatas
Alberic Magnard: Sonate pour Violon et Piano, op. 13/Trois Pieces pour Piano, op. 1/En Dieu mon Esperance
MAGNARD : Sonate Pour Violon - Pièces Pour Piano - Zimansky / Keller
Saint-Saens: String Quartets Nos. 1 & 2; Violin Pieces
Joseph Canteloube, Pierre de Bréville: Music for Violin and Piano
Mozart: The Violin Sonatas
Beethoven: Complete Violin Sonatas
Schubert-Complete Works For Violin & Pianoforte, Vol. 2
Brahms: Violin Sonatas (Ger)
Max Reger: Sonatas for Violin & Piano Op. 122 & Op. 139
One for your music library
Robert Coulter | Delaware, USA | 05/17/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The budget priced Eloquence series has been putting out some really great re-releases, the sequence of disks featuring the great Belgian violinist Arthur Grumiaux not the least among them.
On this two disk release we get wonderful performances by Grumiaux of (as the title says!) French and Belgian violin sonatas. Specifically, the works on this release are:
-- Debussy's violin sonata in G minor, with Istvan Hajdu on piano.
-- the 2 violin sonatas of Faure, with Paul Crossley accompanying.
-- the violin sonata in A by Franck, Gyorgy Sebok on piano.
-- Lekeu's violin sonata in G, with Dinorah Varsi on piano.
-- Ravel's piano sonata in G, again with Istvan Hajdu.
-- the violin and piano version of Vieuxtemps' Ballade et polonaise, Op.38, with Dinorah Varsi on piano.
-- Ysaye's Reve d'enfant (Op.14), again with Dinorah Varsi.
Since their first release in the late 70s, the Faure recordings with Crossley have been rated as near definitive, as has the Ravel; both the Faure sonatas are truly great works, I admit I am less convinced of the stature of Ravel's sonata. Speaking of great works, the massive sonata of Franck is utterly gorgeous and given a wonderful performance here (I have not heard the Perlman/Argerich performance of this work, which is often given rave reviews, as is a recording by Chung and Lupu). Grumiaux is meant to have done an equally excellent recording of the Debussy with Castagnone, but you will not be disappointed with this version. That leaves me the three lesser known works on this disk, those by Lekeu, Vieuxtemps and Ysaye. The violin sonata by Lekeu is probably the most popular piece he wrote (he died of typhoid when 24), and it is easy to understand why; it contains some beautiful, sweeping passages and Grumiaux gives us a great performance of it. Vieuxtemps wrote two versions of his Ballade et polonaise, one for violin and orchestra, the other for violin and piano. It has not been recorded often, in either format. Grumiaux's performance convinces me, at least, that the work deserves better -- look, in particular, for a fun, rollicking theme, introduced towards the middle of this short work which might sound familiar. Finally, I admit I had not previously heard the work by Ysaye; it is a slow, almost longing piece of not quite 4 minutes duration.
The sound is perfectly fine; if anything, the Debussy maybe portrays its age a little, sounding a tad thin in comparison to the rest of the recordings. The violin is perhaps a little closer miked in one or two pieces, but it is not overly dominant.
So there you have it. Anyone without first rate performances of these works, the Faure and Franck works in particular, should not hesitate. Even at mid or full price, I'd recommend putting this in your music library; at budget price, well, all I can say is don't be a silly Billy and buy this release! And finally, for those looking for something a little off the beaten track in this type of repertoire and from roughly the same period, may I suggest the truly superb Ten Sonatilles and Six Morceaux for violin and piano by Joachim Raff."