Christian Tetzlaff / Lars Vogt

Brahms: The Violin Sonatas

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The duo of violinist Christian Tetzlaff and pianist Lars Vogt released a fine live recording of Brahms' violin sonatas in the early 2000s, but they've outdone themselves with this carefully considered and highly original version. The Brahms violin sonatas are middle to late works, and especially the Violin Sonata No. 2 in A major, Op. 100, and Violin Sonata No. 3 in D minor, Op. 108, give the feeling, the one you so often get from late Brahms, that once you dive into the music you may never come out again: the motivic complications are fearsome. Tetzlaff and Vogt marry the complexity to a gentle spirit that diverges from the earlier recordings. Tetzlaff has a lovely way of taking a little pause during the transition passages, as if to let you reflect on what you've just heard, and Vogt matches him with playing that is both quiet and detailed. Sampling can't do justice to music-making of this kind, but try one of these late-sonata opening movements for an idea of what's on offer here. The rare Brahms Scherzo from the collaborative F-A-E Sonata of 1853 and excellent sound from the Sendesaal Bremen are added attractions in this Ondine release, but the main thing is really masterly and deliberate playing.

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