Beethoven: Complete Violin Sonatas, Vol. 2

Hiro Kurosaki / Linda Nicholson

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Beethoven: Complete Violin Sonatas, Vol. 2 Review

by Mike D. Brownell

Vol. 2 of Accent's survey of the Beethoven violin sonatas focuses on the sonatas Opp. 23 & 24 (the "Spring" sonata), which Beethoven had likely intended to publish as a single opus. The energetic sonatas were written during an especially prolific period that also produced the Op. 18 string quartets as well as the Second Symphony. Returning for this installment are violinist Hiro Kurosaki and fortepianist Linda Nicholson, again playing on period instruments. It may be the careful selection of these instruments that most distinguishes this recording from the countless others available. As in Vol. 1, Kurosaki performs the two sonatas on an 1801 violin made by Franz Geissenhof, a replica of an earlier Amati violin. The fortepiano used for this installment is a 1797 instrument; unlike the instrument used in the first volume, this fortepiano lacks the same resonance and presence in its bass register. Still, the selection still yields a logical blend of sound when playing together. The academically informative liner notes, written by Nicholson, point to the focus of the duo's performance. Both musicians play with technical assuredness, close adherence to the score, and musical decisions obviously based on a keen knowledge of performance practice. That being said, they are a bit lacking in the ebullience that characterize Op. 24 or the sheer drama of Op. 23. Listeners interested in a true period sound and close score study will still find this recording quite interesting.

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