Ludwig van Beethoven: Violin Sonata no. 3, opus 12 in E-flat major, no. 3 – Kreutzer Sonata (Violin Sonata no. 9 in A major, opus 47)
Viktoria Mullova (violin), Kristian Bezuidenhout (fortepiano)
Recording: Wyastone Leys, England (14-16 December 2009) – 54'34
Onyx #4050 – Booklet in English with German and French translations
Recreating the past can be a daunting task, but for some talented artists their persistence pays off. The story of Ludwig van Beethoven is an extraordinary journey of immeasurable proportions, not only because of the prodigious gifts bestowed upon him but also due to the biological forces fighting against him with ever diminishing auditory faculties. Nonetheless, the native German prevailed and prolifically composed some of the most dynamic and expressive pieces, bridging the Classical and Romantic periods of music.
As Beethoven never gave up with an uphill battle of deafness, so, too, are these artists who accomplish measured difficulties by harkening back to turn-of-the-century and incorporate an authenticity of their own instruments which were then common fixtures in the musical arena. Violinist Viktoria Mullova and South African Kristian Bezuidenhout enthusiastically jump into the collection of Beethoven's violin sonatas of which they interpret the Violin Sonata no. 3, opus 12 and the 'Kreutzer' Sonata pieces with realistic design and rarified form.
This recording is authentic in every way. Bezuidenhout blazes the keys on an 1822 Anton Walter, reminiscent of fortepianos in the early 1800s. The characteristic quality of sound at that time (the simplistic and short lived notes delivered by striking leather-covered hammers) is unencumbered and true-to-life. Because of the brevity of sound, this allows Mullova's reign on violin to compliment the black and white keys in delightful character by use of broad gut strings and lighter bow to capture Beethoven's intentions with a splash of fresh and pleasingly bountiful notes. The dynamics found within the musical language are pronounced with intelligent detail and pinpoint precision.
The sound within this Onxy recording is crisp and pleasing. It's as if we're in a salon filled with Hapsburg royalty. Mullova and Bezuidenhout create a thoughtful portrayal of two treasured Beethoven masterpieces that are easy on the ear.