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Sergey Prokofiev - Violin sonatas

Release date: 01 Apr 2012, 0042010


Nika Lundstrem, Igor Tsinman, Mikhail Tsinman


Sergei Prokofiev




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Audiophile Audition

This generously-filled disc would have something going for it even if the performances (with maybe a couple lapses) weren’t uniformly fine, which they are. Quite a number of discs featuring Prokofiev’s two violin sonatas include the composer’s Melodies, Op. 35bis, at twelve minutes’ duration, not a generous offering. Some recordings offer other tidbits—mostly arrangements of works originally written for orchestra—and some offer no fillers at all. So it’s a very attractive proposition to have all of Prokofiev’s Sonatas for the Violin collected on a single disc. And in highly atmospheric surround sound, no less. (But note that there’s an excellent budget alternative featuring violinist Andrey Bielov on Naxos 8.555904. Bielov includes all three sonatas for single violin but not the Sonata for Two Violins; substituting Op. 35bis instead). The current performances are by what must be a rare trio of among musicians, at least operating at this level of professionalism: father Mikhail Tsinman, daughter Nika Lundstrem, and son Igor Tsinman. Mikhail is concertmaster of the Bolshoi Theater Orchestra and violinist with the Moscow Rachmaninoff Trio, so he’s undoubtedly had much first-hand experience with Prokofiev’s music for both the theater and chamber ensembles. This is evident from the booklet notes, which include a series of rather strange ruminations in the form of answers to interview questions posed to the violinist. Or maybe they’re just strange to a Western reader. And they are interesting, getting into the issue of Prokofiev’s surprising religious affiliation (with Christian Science) and the broader picture of the metaphysical in the composer’s life and works. (...) It’s true that none of the musicians has star status, but they bring something just as important, a highly idiomatic approach to music that is their birthright. But besides a certain inside track in terms of cultural understanding, the Tsimans are truly accomplished musicians for whom these works offer no exutant challenges. And since these performances strike me as sensitive, alert, and interpretively on-point, I’m happy to recommend a recording that represents not only high performance and production values, but great value, period. I was really impressed with the first spate of releases from the Russian label Caro Mitis. A long hiatus followed, and I was worried that another fine label had fallen by the wayside. But I see that new releases are appearing once again—good news for music lovers generally and audiophiles in particular.

YOU HAVE SELECTED:  Duration Price Price Price Price  
Sonata in D major for solo violin (Op.115) 12:6   $
I. Moderato 4:54   $
II. Andante dolce 3:16   $
III. Con brio 3:56   $
Sonata No.1 in F minor for violin and piano (Op.80) 27:49   $
I. Andante assai 6:43   $
II. Allegro brusco 6:59   $
III. Andante 6:52   $
IV. Allegrissimo 7:15   $
Sonata in С major for two violins (Op.56) 14:40   $
I. Andante cantabile 2:27   $
II. Allegro 3:02   $
III. Commodo (quasi allegretto) 3:43   $
IV. Allegro con brio 5:28   $
Sonata No.2 in D major for violin and piano (Op.94 bis) 24:18   $
I. Moderato 8:06   $
II. Scherzo. Presto 5:15   $
III. Andante 3:31   $
IV. Allegro con brio 7:26   $

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