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Thread: Which are the best 3 or 5 (recorded) Beethoven "kreutzer" sonata performances?

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    Member APL's Avatar
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    Default Which are the best 3 or 5 (recorded) Beethoven "kreutzer" sonata performances?

    My choice:
    1, Grumiaux, Haskil
    2, Kremer, M.Argerich
    3, Zukerman, Barenboim early one.
    Last edited by Taggart; Dec-06-2018 at 19:27.
    "Music should belong to everyone" Kodaly Zoltan

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    Senior Member KenOC's Avatar
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    Patrician Kopatchinskaja and Fazil Say, on Naïve. An astonishing performance, may be hazardous to your health!



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    In my view, there aren't 3 to 5 "best" recordings of the Kreutzer (unless you specified those from either the mono, analogue, or digital eras), because a lot more than 5 great violinists have recorded the work, going back to Bronislaw Huberman (twice), Fritz Kreisler, Adolph Busch, and Joseph Szigeti, and other legendary historic violinists (such as Miron Polyakin, Georg Kulenkampff, etc.), who deserve to be counted among the finest recordings of the Kreutzer Sonata. Nor do the historical violinists always outdo the best recordings of the analogue stereo era, either, in my opinion--such as those by Josef Suk & Jan Panenka, David Oistrakh & Lev Oborin, Itzhak Perlman & Vladimir Ashkenazy, Yehudi Menuhin & Wilhelm Kempff, Leonid Kogan & Emil Gilels (live), and Arthur Grumiaux & Clara Haskil.

    From the digital era, I've additionally liked Kreutzer Sonata recordings by Uto Ughi & Wolfgang Sawallisch, Sayaka Shoji & Gianluca Cascioli (live), and Augustin Dumay & Maria-Joao Pires. While on period instruments, Victoria Mullova & Kristian Bezuidenhout, and Midori Seiler & Jos van Immerseel are worthwhile, too.

    But if I were pressed to pick just 10 Kreutzer Sonata recordings overall that I've personally most liked, I might pick the following (in no particular order):

    1. Adolf Busch & Rudolf Serkin: my high regard for Adolf Busch's violin playing & musicianship (& Serkin's too) has only grown over the decades, since first hearing their recordings on LP: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qaTv...T7Al6m7RzPhijc

    2. Itzhak Perlman & Vladimir Ashkenazy--Perlman's set of Beethoven recordings with Ashkenazy are among the finest performances I've heard from either musician: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BER_iVCBMFE

    3. David Oistrakh & Lev Oborin--one of my all-time favorite violinists: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8uPGz7NU-mk

    4. Josef Suk & Jan Panenka--yet another great Kreutzer performance (although I've yet to hear ideal CD remasters of Suk's fine LP set):

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xE29CJvLBcs
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wn6SB0VJ37E

    5. Fritz Kreisler & Franz Rupp: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SpbjwNIG5z0

    6. Bronislaw Huberman & Siegfried Schultze (1925): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8a-H9tdVRRk (but I also like Huberman's later recording with pianist Ignaz Friedman, too: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rsrn4ACd-X8)

    7. Uto Ughi & Wolfgang Sawallisch--unfortunately, their RCA digital recording isn't on You Tube, but it was recently reissued in the big Ughi box set.

    https://www.amazon.com/Beethoven-Son...isch+beethoven
    https://www.amazon.it/Vari-Uto-Ughi-...words=uto+ughi

    8. Yehudi Menuhin & Wilhelm Kempff--this sonata was one of the highlights of Menuhin's impromptu DG set with Kempff: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v0HOLRiKZkE

    9. Augustin Dumay & Maria Joao Pires: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tJvSjmYteJU

    10. Joseph Szigeti & Bela Bartok: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3PMZXXhIzPQ

    I didn't list the Kogan/Gilels recording due to its sound quality, which I found grating at times, but their performance is among the best I know: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aC7qA9NRBNo

    Sayaka Shoji & Gianluca Cascioli are worth hearing too: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W3Vzq1-ALoA

    By the way, the following Andante CD set offers an excellent survey of rare historical Kreutzer (& Spring) Sonata recordings: https://www.amazon.com/Ludwig-Van-Be...eutzer+andante
    Last edited by Josquin13; Dec-06-2018 at 22:24.

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    I didn't know about the Szigeti/Bartok recording - interesting, thanks. IMO, it seems to be more satisfying sonically than the rather sketchy Szigeti/Arrau https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qfUEgZK75x
    Last edited by joen_cph; Dec-06-2018 at 22:32.

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    Quote Originally Posted by joen_cph View Post
    I didn't know about the Szigeti/Bartok recording - interesting, thanks. IMO, it seems to be more satisfying sonically than the rather sketchy Szigeti/Arrau https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qfUEgZK75x
    I prefer it to the Szigeti/Arrau recording. However, the Pristine audio quality is better than the old Vanguard CD. It was recorded from a live 1940 recital that Szigeti & Bartok gave at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., which is worth having, IMO. Szigeti once recounted how Bartok had mischievously surprised him by taking a much faster tempo in the final movement of the Debussy sonata than they'd rehearsed:

    http://www.classicalcdreview.com/84.html
    https://www.pristineclassical.com/se...D&type=Product
    http://www.musicweb-international.co...eti_bartok.htm
    https://www.amazon.com/Sonata-Recita.../dp/B0002XL21G

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    Senior Member wkasimer's Avatar
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    If you don't mind period instruments, this one:

    kreutzer.jpg

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    Faust, Kopatchinskaja and Perlman.

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    Senior Member SalieriIsInnocent's Avatar
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    I quite like the Pires/Dumay recording of the Kreutzer. My biggest reason? Dumay doesn't breathe like he has apnea while playing. That's something that has put me off on a lot of recordings. That being said, the playing is exquisite, lively, and I like how it was recorded. It's quite well balanced.

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