Pamela Frank

Beethoven: The 10 Sonatas for Violin & Piano

(CD - Music & Arts #1143)

Review by

Expectations for this four-disc set may not be high, but good things can come in modest packages. Violinist Pamela Frank and her father, pianist Claude Frank, are not the most innovative, eccentric, or famous of Beethoven performers, and their 1992-1995 performances of his ten sonatas for violin and piano are not calculated to cause a sensation. Yet they have no need of novelty or hype, for the Franks depend entirely on their musicality and sympathetic partnership to bring off these works. This duo maintains a fine instrumental balance throughout, and this is especially important when the piano threatens to overwhelm the violin's simpler lines. The best-known sonatas are featured on the first and fourth discs, so the work order is somewhat scrambled. Listeners may be drawn first of all to the Sonata in A minor, Op. 47, "Kreutzer," and the Sonata in F major, Op. 24, "Spring," but by no means should they overlook the Sonatas, Op. 30, on Disc 2 or the three Sonatas on Disc 3, for the Franks deliver some of their most spontaneous and enjoyable performances in these works. Music & Arts has reissued the set released in 1999 by Music Masters Classics, and the original fine recordings have not been remastered.

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