Mark Fewer / Peter Longworth

Brahms: Sonatas for Violin & Piano

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Like many of his works, the three Brahms violin sonatas were a labor of meticulous, painstaking composition and careful attention to every small detail. Unlike some pieces, however, the violin sonatas were written surprisingly quickly and without the same level of revision and second-guessing. The resulting sonatas are beloved works not only by violinist, but by pianists as well who relish thick, velvety texture that Brahms frequently used in the works for solo piano. This Azica album features the three sonatas as performed by violinist Mark Fewer and pianist Peter Longworth. As described in the liner notes, the objective of the performance is to achieve a sense of spaciousness and ease. For the most part, this objective is met. Fewer and Longworth chose tempi that allow listeners to savor every note, every chord, every subtly of Brahms' writing. To their credit, this is done without ever making the music drag or become stodgy. Fewer's interpretation is one of graceful, unfettered simplicity. Technically, Fewer's playing is generally quite solid, though double-stops sometimes sound out of tune and there are occasional shifts that don't quite make it to their destination. Longworth's playing is equally unhurried and laid-back. The balance between violin and the piano often unduly favors the violin, making the collaboration seem less like a partnership of equals. The recorded sound could use a bit more definition and depth to the lower end of the piano's register.

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