Brahms: Violin Sonata No.1; Violin Sonata No. 2; Violin Sonata No. 3

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LABELS: Hyperion Helios
WORKS: Violin Sonata No.1; Violin Sonata No. 2; Violin Sonata No. 3
PERFORMER: Krysia Osostowicz (violin); Susan Tomes (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: CDH 55087 Reissue (1990)
Recordings of the Brahms Violin Sonatas occupy a crowded field, but this disc stood out on its first appearance as one of the best versions available, and so it remains. It’s beautifully recorded; Osostowicz and Tomes seem in perfect accord with Brahms, and with each other. The spontaneity and rapport of their playing, and the depth of their interpretation, seem to increase with each opus, climaxing in an unusually passionate and impulsive account of the D minor (No. 3). If this suggests that the G major and A major are less good, we are only talking in fine shades of perfection. Oleg Kagan with Sviatoslav Richter (on a Live Classics disc I reviewed last December) offer more unusual insights into the former, and my top recommendation for all three sonatas remains the magisterial Augustin Dumay and Maria João Pires. But if your pocket won’t stretch to their full price, this Helios reissue makes a richly satisfying alternative. Calum MacDonald