Ilja Korol

Brahms: Violin Sonatas

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The premise of moderntimes_1800, a chamber orchestra founded by violinist Ilja Korol, is the performance of music in the performing style that was current when the music was composed. On this disc, Korol and pianist Natalia Grigorieva, also a member of moderntimes_1800, allegedly perform Brahms' violin sonatas in the manner of late nineteenth century, but the results can best be described as raw, dry, and scrappy, hopefully not the sound Brahms had in mind. In the G major Sonata's opening Vivace ma non troppo Korol's tone is light on the vibrato and heavy on the down bow, while his technique is rugged and brutal. Grigorieva's attack is weighty, her articulation stolid, and her accompaniment more dutiful than inspired. While the ensemble is virtually telepathic, the interpretations reverse 100 years of musical history, turning passionate Romantic masterpieces into dull and stodgy museum pieces. While this approach may be historically defensible, it is aesthetically risible. Recorded in close, cramped digital sound, this disc is only for listeners who have to have every disc of Brahms' violin sonatas ever recorded.

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