Beethoven: Violin Sonatas, Vol. 1 - Podger, Glynn
Channel Classics CCSSA 44222
Classical - Chamber
Beethoven: Violin Sonatas 1, 5 & 10
Rachel Podger (violin)
Christopher Glynn (fortepiano)
Rachel Podger, “the unsurpassed British glory of the baroque violin” (The Times), and Grammy award-winning pianist Christopher Glynn have recorded Beethoven’s Sonatas for Violin and Piano Op. 12 (No.1), Op 24 & Op. 96. The album will be released on March 25, 2022.
Following the Mozart/Jones Sonatas Fragment Completions album released in 2021, this Beethoven recording marks Podger & Glynn’s second release. It is also Rachel Podger’s 28th album for Channel Classics Records, produced by Royal Academy of Music Principal Professor Jonathan Freeman-Attwood and recorded by Jared Sacks.
Reading about Ludwig van Beethoven as a performer usually brings up the inevitable stories about his characteristic and idiosyncratic piano playing in Vienna. But delving further into his early years in Bonn, we read that, as a musician at the court of the Archbishop-Elector of Cologne, he was active as both organist and viola player. And when he left for Vienna in 1792 he was advised to take violin lessons with Ignaz Schuppanzigh. Beethoven’s profound understanding of both the violin and the piano, and ability to combine them with astonishing invention and originality, is heard in ten sonatas. Three of which are performed on this new album; Op. 12 (No. 1), Op. 24 & Op. 96.
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Review by Graham Williams - June 7, 2022
Having committed to disc swathes of the Baroque repertoire including acclaimed sets of the Vivaldi Violin Concertos and the complete Mozart Violin Sonatas, it is logical that Rachel Podger has turned her attention to the Beethoven Sonatas for Violin and Piano. For this, the first of what one hopes will be a complete cycle on SACD of these works for Channel Classics, she is partnered by the pianist Christopher Glynn.
The choice of these particular three sonatas is a judicious one as they strikingly chart Beethoven’s compositional journey from the influence of Haydn and Mozart in Sonata Opus 12 No. 1 (1798) to his final mature (and many would say loveliest) masterpiece in this genre, the Sonata Op. 96 from 1812. Podger and Glynn are in complete accord in their accounts of these three works and the playing from both artists is constantly beguiling. Discernment and spontaneity is matched with a freshness of approach that seems paramount in these performances. Their lightness of touch is especially evident in the lyrical Spring Sonata Op.24 and overall they are unburdened from the sometimes cloying richness found on some of the earlier accounts of these pieces on disc
Podger’s 1718 ‘Maurin’ Antonio Stradivari (not Antonia, as an unfortunate typo in the booklet suggests) is ideally suited to these sonatas as is the tonally attractive 1840 Erard fortepiano that gives Glynn ample opportunity to make the most of his splendid pianism.
Praise for the excellent sound quality on Channel releases is almost implicit in any review of their releases and this one is no exception. The acoustic signature of St. John’s Church, Upper Norwood, London makes it an ideal location for Jared Sacks’s unobtrusive engineering. The venue provides both warmth and exceptional clarity for a superb DSD recording of incomparable realism made in May 2021.
Though Sacks has now sold his company to Outhere Music the presentation and packaging is as before, apart from a new, and quite low-key, logo for the label.
An unqualified success for all concerned.
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