Mela Tenenbaum

Brahms: Violin Sonatas

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Brahms: Violin Sonatas Review

by James Leonard

Mela Tenenbaum and Richard Kapp's 2005 recording of Brahms' Violin Sonatas is as passionately compelling, as deeply moving, and as overwhelmingly urgent a set of performances as has ever been recorded of anything anytime anywhere. Tenenbaum and Kapp had played together for decades; he had accompanied her and engineered her and produced her and the musical partnership was deep and complete. When Kapp was diagnosed with the virulent cancer that had killed many of his family, he and Tenenbaum spent three days alone recording Brahms' Sonatas. The results are staggering. Kapp is a brilliant musician and an intuitive pianist and his performances are big-hearted and strong. Tenenbaum is a soulful player and a lyrical violinist and her performances are full-throated and compassionate. Together, Kapp and Tenenbaum have wholeness of ensemble and a unity of purpose that goes beyond anything any other pair of performers has brought to these works. The warmth and humanity of these performances, the consideration, the affection, the sublimation, the transcendence, and the pure love of these performances puts them among the greatest ever recorded. The sound of the Kapp's living room is wonderfully close and marvelously intimate.

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