Brahms, Bach, Schubert

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Bach,Brahms,Schubert
WORKS: Violin Sonata No. 1 in G, Op. 78
PERFORMER: Elisabeth Batiashvili (violin), Milana Chernyavska (piano)
By any standards this is outstanding playing: mature, accomplished, individual without any tendency to self-aggrandisement and deeply, deeply musical. It’s rare to find a 22-year-old who gives such rounded, spiritually satisfying performances. It isn’t just the agility, the control, the freshness or the beauty of the sound; Elisabeth Batiashvili’s playing is alive on so many levels. In the ‘Double’ finale of the Bach B minor Partita – bar upon bar of seemingly incessant semiquavers – she finds a special meaning in each tiny link of the long musical chain, but without distorting the sense of the whole form. Even in the Sarabande, which she takes at a spacious, Romantically pliable pace, you can still feel the elegant inevitability with which Bach builds his long phrases. There’s a similar elegance in the Brahms G major Sonata. The wonderful opening theme is poised and airborne, but creating subtle tensions with Milana Chernyavska’s fine piano accompaniment. From the very beginning you sense something wonderful could grow from this – and it does. The Schubert Rondo makes a breathtaking finale: unfettered and exuberant, there’s still that sense of teetering emotional ambiguity, so typical of late Schubert – and all in demonstration-quality recordings. Stephen Johnson