Reviews and occasional notes on classical music

Reviews and occasional notes on classical music

"Music, both vocall and instrumental, so good, so delectable, so rare, so admirable, so super excellent, that it did even ravish and stupifie all those strangers that never heard the like." - Thomas Coryat, after hearing 3 hours of music at the Scuola di San Rocco in Venice, 1608.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Surprise and delight

This is the second volume in the Beethoven Violin Sonatas series from fortepianist Ian Watson and violinist Susanna Ogata, and the high musical and production standards that won plaudits from the critics in the first continue here. I am, as they say, enamoured of the sound of this fortepiano, another replica by Paul McNulty, who built the Pleyel replica I loved in a recent Ronald Brautigam recording.

The instruments are, of course, only a part of the HIP equation. With their heads in an early 19th century space, Watson and Ogata are alert to the newness of this music's rhythms, melodies and sound-world. Beethoven's constant surprises are the thing that endear me to him most of all. I'm surprised by a beautiful melody, or just a phrase, or just a beautiful way of pausing in a phrase. And because I'm so used to this much-loved music coming at me from a totally different direction, every new sound in these two sonatas is a surprise and a delight.

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