LABELS: EMI Double Forte
WORKS: Violin Sonatas, Opp. 12/1-3, 23, 24 (Spring) & 30/1
PERFORMER: Pinchas Zukerman (violin), Daniel Barenboim (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: CZS 5 73647 2 ADD Reissue (1971-3)
The free-flowing spontaneity and flair of Pinchas Zukerman and Daniel Barenboim’s recordings of Beethoven’s complete violin sonatas, dating from the early Seventies, make this pair of two-disc sets highly recommendable. Zukerman’s purity of tone and tremendous clarity of articulation are matched by Barenboim’s limpid textures. While they lack the dramatic breadth of Perlman and Ashkenazy’s recordings, these are readings of elegance and delicate charm, the slow movements particularly lovely, wonderfully expressive yet understated.
The only proviso is the very bright edge to the recorded sound, which is apt to sound brittle on occasion. But doubts on this front are countered by the bonus inclusion of Tchaikovsky’s tempestuous Piano Trio, the players joined by Jacqueline du Pré. Zukerman is spurred on to expressive heights by du Pré’s achingly rich sound and Barenboim plays with power and sensitivity in a reading of shimmering beauty. Catherine Nelson