Magazine article Gramophone

Brahms: Cello Sonatas-No 1, Op 38

Magazine article Gramophone

Brahms: Cello Sonatas-No 1, Op 38

Article excerpt

Brahms

Cello Sonatas--No 1, Op 38; No 2, Op 99.

Violin Sonata No 3, Op 108

Alexander Kniazev [vc] Andrei Korobeinikov [pf]

Mirare [F] MIR270 (76' * DDD)

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Solidly Russian-school and an eminently expressive cellist, Alexander Kniazev is in many ways perfectly suited to the Romanticism of Brahms's two cello sonatas. However, even while all three sonatas here (the two cello sonatas are followed by a transcription of the Op 108 Violin Sonata) are played with conviction, overall these interpretations didn't ring my bell.

Kniazev combines a weighty attack with tremendous passion. His dynamic range is also exactly that, giving us the full scale from true pianissimos to fortissimos. However, once we get down to the business of tone and interpretation, these are not the most beautiful-sounding readings; the scratch of bow hairs on the strings is audible, as are the vibrations of the instrument, along with occasional but noticeable exhalations. While interesting the choppily turbulent recapitulation of the E minor Sonata's first movement did have me listening afresh, for instance--these are overwhelmingly stormy interpretations, in which after a while you notice a uniformity. …

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