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Brahms: The Violin Sonatas Import, Original recording remastered

9 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Import, Original recording remastered, February 6, 2001
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Product Details

  • Performer: Julius Katchen, Josef Suk
  • Composer: Johannes Brahms
  • Audio CD (February 6, 2001)
  • SPARS Code: ADD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import, Original recording remastered
  • Label: Decca Import
  • ASIN: B000059ZIC
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #50,657 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful By "stradgirl" on October 21, 2001
Format: Audio CD
This is a very memorable album of Brahms Violin Sonatas. As a direct descent of Dvorak, Suk sure knows how to play Brahms, who was Dvorak's mentor. You can feel the polished glory of his sound in every note, and every phrase is played with just the right amount of burning passion and romantic nuance - the d minor sonata especially is a gem you wouldn't want to miss. The crisp Decca acoustics and the golden rich tone of Suk together create a very special atmosphere. Alongside this recording, I recommend the two Brahms trios Suk played with Janos Starker and Julius Katchen: it's the definitive romantic interpretation of those monumental works.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Dermot Elworthy on March 25, 2008
Format: Audio CD
Another reviewer has made the "Czech Connection". It is fun to suppose that the Brahms/Dvorak relationship and the wealth of Bohemian musicality which they both appreciated has been genetically preserved in Joseph Suk. Fanciful speculation of course, but there is no doubt that Suk plays these three Sonatas with a greater sense of phrasing and much broader tone colour than the others with whom I'm familiar and who do not share this musical heritage.

The three Sonatas were recorded in the now-gone Kingsway Hall two years before the premature death of Julius Katchen who essentially was a solo recitalist - I think his recordings of the complete Brahms solo piano repertoire quite the best - but, as these sonatas demonstrate, also was a very fine and empathetic accompanist.

Of the recordings of these delightful Sonatas currently available, I think this one is a classic and the yardstick against which others should be measured - it is thoroughly deserving of its inclusion in Decca's "Legendary Performances" series. The musical synergy of the duo is very evident; the recording quality is excellent and the balance between instruments very much better than usually is achieved with violin/piano pairing.

I have other recordings of these works but they do not have the charm and musicality of this collection which I recommend.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Hiram Gomez Pardo HALL OF FAME on July 17, 2007
Format: Audio CD
Among the annals of the greatest historical registers ever made this set must be included in a top list of the twenty five gem performances of the chamber music genre.

There is not any violinist of today capable to equal the level of expression and total commitment of Joseph Suk. Moreover, can boast of this kaleidoscopic variety of tonal colour, organic phrasing, mercurial tact, and even major ability to express with such deepness of sheer lyricism.

Of course, there must be a strong acknowledgement in which concerns to the musical support of Julius Katchen one of the most extraordinary pianist born in USA, whose musical canvas sounds so expressive natural that it would seem to have been born in Europe. His velvet sound, his accuracy around every single bar and his inimitable pianissimos makes of him the most remarkable American pianist playing Brahms. He captured and knew to deal with the essential core of Brahms, conferring him of grace, charm ,deepness without that nestled humor into the musical structure.

I would like to underline this last aspect because without that Mediterranean touch, Brahms may be unbearable to listen. That's why there are so many brilliant pianists who conscious or unconsciously increase a pretended austerity in his music, lacking that kind spirit of a man who loved the Hungarian tunes and maintained a sort of formidable equilibrium between expression and charm; vigor and lyricism.

That's why this set must be acquired in case you (as I do) be a hard fan Brahms chamber music and effectively want to possess the4 best versions of this first rate composer.

A must-have.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Joe Zika TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 9, 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Brahms: The Violin Sonatas - Suk and Katchen

Johannes Brahms was very much aware that in certain spheres of music he would be measured against his predecessors Mozart and, especially, Beethoven. And so, although he counted the Hungarian violinist's Eduard Reményi and Joseph Joachim among his associates, and the latter was one of his dearest friends, he waited a long time before publishing a violin sonata which he and others performed from the manuscript; and up to four more may have been discarded before he finally let Joachim have the G major Sonata, Op. 78, in 1879.

These Brahms recordings represent one of those series of sessions in which everything goes right. The tall, strong Suk with his big songful tone made an ideal foil for the powerful Katchen, and the two men were stimulated to give of their best: although of the same generation, they came from such differing backgrounds that each had much to offer the other. The performances have not been surpassed and are unlikely to be bettered, although they may be equaled. The American pianist and the Bohemian violinist find all the necessary lyricism and tonal color for the first two sonatas and they rise effortlessly to the challenges of the third.

These recordings are the best that have been captured to date and most likely be never surpassed in the future.

The Violin Sonata No. 1 in G major, Op. 78, for violin and piano was composed by Johannes Brahms during the summers of 1878 and 1879 in Pörtschach am Wörthersee. It was first performed on 8 November 1879 in Bonn. Each of three movements of this sonata shares common motivic ideas or thematic materials from the head-motif of Brahms's two songs "Regenlied" and "Nachklang", Op.
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