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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDA67504
Recording details: October 2004
Henry Wood Hall, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Eric Wen
Engineered by Tony Faulkner
Release date: June 2006
Total duration: 20 minutes 4 seconds

'The playing is outgoing and communicative, and each movement makes a distinct positive impression. In vivacious movements the sheer verve of the playing is irresistible … an extremely enjoyable issue' (Gramophone)

'Following beautiful discs of Bloch and Hubay, Hagai Shaham offers us a remarkable album of Grieg. Dominated by musical quality without fault, these interpretations are also worth for perfect balance between the two instruments … in the three sonatas Shaham knew how to preserve a mixture of simplicity and thrifty lyricism which characterizes them … a beautiful good album' (Diapason, France)

'It is always a treat to get a Shaham-Erez recording to review … in this recording the violin and piano are treated as equal partners. Both instruments are reproduced in a way that allows everything to be heard in the musical equivalent to full natural color. Their musicianship is superb' (American Record Guide)

'Any rival versions to this Hyperion disc will have to be truly exceptional, for this issue is, in almost every respect, going to be hard to beat. The recording quality is first-class—the balance between the instruments is ideal, and the performances have clearly been thought through with considerable musicianship. This is a first-rate issue' (International Record Review)

'A strong recommendation' (Fanfare, USA)

'For each sonata has its own distinctive personality, while each also finds the composer in full command of the duo combination as a partnership of equals. Full marks then to the collaboration of Shaham and Erez, and to the Hyperion recording, which has such a natural perspective. For example, the violin tone in climactic passages, such as the second movement of Op 8, is particularly imposing and effective. The two players bring to the music a spontaneous flow … as a mark of their success, great moments such as the arrival of the ‘big tune’ in the dance-like finale of the Sonata No 3 can be heard for all they are worth’ (MusicWeb International)

'In these brilliant, exuberant and flawless performances technical means and exquisite interpretations are bound together in a pure and attractive manner … prick up your ears especially for the magnificent transition to melancholy in the Allegretto tranquillo of Sonata No 2 … this is a superb duo' (Luister, Netherlands)

'Hagai Shaham et Arnon Erez ont su nous faire entendre tour à tour les motifs principaux sans véritable 'amalgame' de leurs voix, ont pu trouver une grande homogénéité de style et un parfait équilibre sonore et ont réussi à faire resortir toutes les innovations mélodiques, harmoniques et rythmiques imaginées par Grieg' (Classica, France)

Violin Sonata No 2 in G major, Op 13
composer
1867

Allegro animato  [5'21]

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
The Violin Sonata No 2 in G major, Op 13, was written in the three weeks of Grieg‘s honeymoon—small wonder it is such a happy piece. The Norwegian folk manner was now a natural part of his vocabulary, and the Second Violin Sonata is impregnated with its contours. Both outer movements contain elements of the springar—though the first is introduced by a gloomy Lento doloroso in G minor, setting the scene, as in the First Sonata, for the buoyant G major tune, Allegro vivace, which follows. The secondary theme—with the ‘Grieg motif’ prominent—offers a harmonic contrast (it is in the upper mediant, B minor) but is built on the same thematic material; the third tune is in the dominant, D major. After the generous exposition, Grieg keeps the development short, varies the material in the recapitulation, announces the coda in the grand manner and signs off with a confident flourish. The slow movement of the Second Sonata is likewise in ABA form, the E minor outer sections (constructed from the dotted four-note shape in the first bar) surrounding the E major middle panel (also generated from that same shape). The finale maintains the formal evolution of the first movement: it is an individual amalgam of sonata-form and rondo, once again contrasting the rhythmic–melodic motivic interrelationships of the melodic material with more dramatic harmonic shifts.

The Second Violin Sonata was dedicated to Johan Svendsen, Grieg’s comrade-in-art, although it was premiered by Gudbrand Böhn, with the composer at the piano, in the autumn of 1867.

from notes by Martin Anderson © 2006

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