Martha Argerich / Gidon Kremer

Beethoven: Works for Violin and Piano

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This may be the best set of Beethoven's violin sonatas since the Kreisler/Rupp recordings of the '30s. And it is certainly the equal of the best of the more recent sets by Oistrakh/Oborin and Szeryng/Haebler in both virtuosity and interpretive insights. Violinist Gidon Kremer is perhaps the most technically accomplished contemporary violinist and certainly the most exciting. Pianist Martha Argerich is perhaps the greatest living virtuoso pianist and certainly the most thrilling. And their performance of the "Kreutzer" Sonata is an astounding display of virtuosity, a performance that may stand as the most breathtaking ever recorded. But better yet is Kremer and Argerich's ability to make every sonata sound as great as the "Kreutzer," to make the early sonatas sound fresh and strong, to make the middle sonatas sound muscular and dramatic, and to make the last sonata sound sublimely consoling and transcendentally lyrical. When coupled with the Kempff/Menuhin recordings of the Rondo and Variations and the Garrett/Canino recording of the "Deutscher," this may be the first choice for listeners looking to acquire Beethoven's works for violin and piano.

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