Beethoven/Mozart/ Mendelssohn

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4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Beethoven/Mozart/ Mendelssohn
LABELS: Teldec
WORKS: Violin Sonata No. 5 in F Op. 24; Violin Sonata in B flat K378; Violin Sonata in F
PERFORMER: Maxim Vengerov (violin), Itamar Golan (piano), Alexander Markovich (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 9031-76349-2 DDD
The 18-year-old Siberian violinist Maxim Vengerov has made quite an impact on the world stage since winning the Carl Flesch Competition in London in 1990. His first recital disc for Teldec begins ambitiously with Beethoven’s Spring Sonata: on the whole he acquits himself well, though his approach is perhaps too urgent for this most laid-back of sonatas. He also overdoes Beethoven’s joke in the Scherzo, by playing fractionally behind the beat. His slightly older partner, Itamar Golan, is on good form here, but I found him too discreet in the Mozart, particularly in the energetic finale. To some extent this is the fault of the violin-weighted balance, but I also got little sense of musical personality being projected by either player.

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Alexander Markovich makes a fine contribution to the charming Mendelssohn sonata, and Vengerov’s phrasing here is rather more distinctive. Throughout the disc his technique is highly impressive, and he produces a beautiful tone even in the violin’s lower regions. What I do miss is the warmth of expression that others bring to this music. Still, it’s an auspicious debut; and apart from my quibble over the Mozart, the sound is first rate. Stephen Maddock