Recently, the question was posed on a popular online music discussion forum: “What are your eight favorite chamber works?” My answer was that I could easily answer the query using only works by Johannes Brahms. Brahms was a master of chamber music and wrote more than one work in all of the traditional forms: instrumental sonatas, piano, clarinet and horn trios, piano quartets, clarinet quintet, string quartets, quintets and sextets. And many of these are late period works, a time where it seems Brahms is summing up everything he knew about composing.
Despite the plethora of great recordings of the Brahms violin sonatas, e.g. Szeryng/Rubinstein, Mullova/Anderszewski and Dumay/Pires, this August 2016 recording by Christian Tetzlaff and Lars Vogt proudly stands shoulder to shoulder with the best of the lot. Tetzlaff and Vogt are longstanding recital partners, and have performed these works countless times on the concert circuit, including in an excellent live recording released in 2002. However, this latest release, I think, finds them at the top of their game and they have turned in a performance brimming with passion, precision and poetry.
Johannes Brahms : The Violin Sonatas
Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 1
Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 2
Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 3
Scherzo, ‘FAE Sonata’
Brahms: Violin Sonata in D Minor No. 3: Mvt. I – Allegro