Leonid Kogan

Leonid Kogan plays Bach and Prokofiev

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It's always good to have more great recordings by Soviet super-virtuoso Leonid Kogan. One of the great technicians and one of the most challenging interpreters among twentieth century violinists, Kogan made too few recordings before his unexpected and relatively early death at the age of 58 in 1982. It's also always good to have more great recordings of Prokofiev's D major Sonata for violin and piano and Bach's C major Sonata for solo violin. Kogan's performance of Prokofiev's sonata with pianist Ephraim Koenig sings with a purity and intensity that fulfills the music's lyricism while his performance of Bach's sonata shines with the clear light that transubstantiates the music's spirituality. It's also always good to have some annotation somewhere in the packaging that mentions the dates of the recordings. Although the enclosed biography is warmly sympathetic to the performer, it nowhere cites the recording dates. It's also always good to have sound that doesn't hurt the listener's ears. Although touted for its "audiophile quality," the actual recording here is hard, close, and small and could date from just about anytime and anywhere in Kogan's career. Altogether then, a release that will probably be of interest primarily to fans of the Soviet super-virtuoso.

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