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The Violin Sonatas, Vol. 4 Thomas Albertus Irnberger

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The fourth part is a masterful close to one of the best, most authentic and balanced recordings of Beethoven's violin sonatas of the last 20 years.

When Salzburg violinist Thomas Albertus Irnberger and Cologne pianist Michael Korstick (who has been nicknamed "Dr. Beethoven" since his college days) deal with Ludwig van Beethoven's violin sonatas, then you can expect something great. Finally, we get the impression that this is not just "the Kreutzer Sonata and ... oh yes, a few other bits and pieces", but rather that the other sonatas have been given the same attention and care (and love) as the famous sonata for piano and violin No. 9 in A minor op. 47. Korstick and Irnberger are all about flawless playing and remaining true to the score, oriented as closely as possible to the original intention of the composer and its historical context. You can hear how far the piano has been put in the centre of attention for the highly dramatic sonatas No. 6 in A minor and No. 7 in C major op. 31, 1 & 2 on this recording – it was called "for Piano and Violin" and not the other way around for a reason. Add to that the complete lack of ego-maniacal excess on behalf of either soloist, the sparing use of rubato and the quick tempos in the faster passages and the reserve of the slower passages. For all the drama in these highly emotional sonatas, written in a different period of Beethoven's life, Korstick and Irnberger use the classical orders and original score to accent the drama, rather than relying on their own sentimentality. This fourth and final part – also quite an achievement in terms of its musical quality – closes one of the best and most authentic complete recordings of Beethoven's violin sonatas of the last 20 years.

Salvatore Pichireddu | Jan 29, 2016
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