Daishin Kashimoto / Konstantin Lifschitz

Beethoven: The Complete Violin Sonatas

(CD - Warner Classics #2564634929)

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Violinist Daishin Kashimoto and pianist Konstantin Lifschitz make their debut together on Warner with Ludwig van Beethoven's complete violin sonatas, decidedly an ambitious undertaking. Neither artist has an extensive discography, and this is their first release as a duo, so one can imagine that the pressure of recording these sonatas in the studio must have been considerable, despite their prior experiences of playing them in recital several times. There is no question that Kashimoto has a strong affinity for Beethoven that is apparent in his nuanced phrasing and passionate playing, and that Lifschitz is with him every step of the way as an alert accompanist. Both appear to have agreed to play the notes before them, without recourse to historical styles or trends, so the interpretations are mainstream and unsurprisingly direct. Yet there is a spontaneity in the playing that suggests the sonatas haven't been over-rehearsed or over-thought, and that both musicians are still seeking new ideas and expressions in each performance. The trimline box set contains four CDs in cardboard sleeves, and the sonatas appear in numerical order. Despite being recorded in two separate studios, in Stalden, Switzerland (sonatas 1, 6, 7, and 8) and Berlin, Germany (sonatas 2, 3, 4, 5, 9, and 10), the sound is fairly consistent throughout, with only slight variances of presence and volume levels.

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