Brahms: Cello Sonata No. 1 in E minor, Op. 38; Cello Sonata No. 2 in F, Op. 99

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Brahms
LABELS: Erato
WORKS: Cello Sonata No. 1 in E minor, Op. 38; Cello Sonata No. 2 in F, Op. 99
PERFORMER: János Starker (cello)György Sebök (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 4509-96950-2 ADD (1979)
Starker recorded these performances in 1959 and, though they have the unique tensile strength of the cellist at his best, his recently released 1992 recordings (on RCA) outshine them. György Sebök’s playing is perhaps more introspective than the virile Buchbinder’s on the newer disc, and there are moments of touching sweetness, particularly in the slow movement of the F major sonata. However, even here the cello sound comes across as rather thin and nasal, and the ensemble with piano slightly muddy. A powerful, passionate 1992 first movement tends to be well-behaved in 1959; an elegant, even grandiose 1959 E minor Scherzo and trio have become faster, freer and brighter 33 years on. This reissue lacks the acoustic resonance and rich sound quality which has since been made possible, but for Starker fans it is a telling document. Helen Wallace

Advertisement