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Grieg: Violin Sonatas (To The Spring)

Elena Urioste (violin), Tom Poster (piano) (Orchid Classics)

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

To The Spring – Violin Sonata No. 1 in F major, Op. 8; Våren, Op. 33 No. 2; Violin Sonata No. 2 in G major, Op. 13; Til våren, Op. 43 No. 5; Violin Sonata No. 3 in C minor, Op. 45
Elena Urioste (violin), Tom Poster (piano)
Orchid Classics ORC100126   76:49 mins


‘To the Spring’ may be the title of this all-Grieg disc, and that of one of the two violin-and-piano transcriptions punctuating the three sonatas, but the journey takes us on to high summer and blustery autumn. The Third, C minor Sonata, Op. 45, is the best known thanks partly to a searingly-bright recording by Kreisler and Rachmaninov, but it was the second of the sonatas which Elena Urioste and Tom Poster really made me fall in love with, its enigmatic dolorous introduction soon banished by typical Norwegian, grace-noted delight as we understand it in Grieg’s lyric spirit. His inspirations are high in each sonata, if not constant; developments are good enough, but not his strong point and occasionally the welcome is outstayed (it was the right decision here not to include the repeat in the F major Sonata’s finale).

Grieg shares his ideas equally between the two players and that aspect is especially strong here given not only the duo’s real-life partnership (they married last year) but also the meticulous recording balance which suggested real mastery (and so it transpired – the vintage team of Andrew Keener and Simon Eadon). Poster never puts a light foot wrong; there’s mercurial delicacy but also weight. Urioste’s tone is more of an acquired taste; I’d have liked more brightness in the First Sonata, aptly the most spring-like, and occasionally just a little less rubato. But the fine-tuning’s the thing, and this will be a companionable recording over time.


David Nice