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Positively Inspirational

Jennifer Koh
plays Schumann -
enjoyed by

'... superbly accomplished performances ...'

Schumann - The Sonatas for Violin and Piano. Jennifer Koh, violin; Reiko Uchida, piano. © 2006 Cedille Records

Schumann's three violin sonatas have by and large been cold-shouldered by today's recitalists; most of whom favour works such as Beethoven's ten sonatas, Brahms' three, a handful of Mozart's (his began with KV6 and culminated in KV547), César Franck in A, Prokofiev 1 and 2, Ravel and Debussy.

Furthermore CD recitalists, Gidon Kremer (with Martha Argerich on Deutsche Grammophon), Anthony Marwood (with Susan Tomes on Hyperion), Lydia Mordkovitch (with Gerhard Oppitz on Chandos), and Ilya Kaler (with Boris Slutsky on Naxos) limit themselves to Schumann sonatas of 1851, Nos 1 [listen -- track 3, 1:26-2:33] and 2.

In this recording Chicago-born violinist Jennifer Koh and Los Angeles pianist Reiko Uchida offer all three of Schumann's sonatas in superbly accomplished performances more than the equal of several others; viz, Lebanese violinist Ara Malikian (with Seroui Kradjian on Hänssler) and Isabella Faust (with Silke Avenhaus on CPO).

Cedille's wonderful team is positively inspirational in revealing the expressive drama, beauty, ardor and gorgeous lyricism which the troubled composer poured into each of these late works. All three sonatas bristle with shifting keys, hidden nuances, technical hurdles, melodic outpourings and unexpected declamations -- each of which are met with heaven-sent artistry.

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Copyright © 22 October 2007 Howard Smith, Masterton, New Zealand


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