Brahms, Violin Sonatas 2, 3 & Franck Violin Sonata in A Major
David Oistrak, violin
Sviatoslav Richter, piano
This recording features three sonatas performed by two of the greatest musicians of the XX century: pianist Sviatoslav Richter and violinist David Oistrakh. Their first collaboration dates back to 1967, two years before the recording of the Sonata in C minor no. 3 (op. 108) by Johannes Brahms and of the Sonata in A major by César Franck, both played in concert at the Moscow Conservatory, as well as the other Brahms’s sonata, Sonata in A major no. 2 op. 100, which was recorded in 1972. Unfortunately, it is impossible to summarize here the merits and achievements of Oistrakh and Richter, and I will mention only their vast repertoires, ranging from Baroque to contemporary music, Richter’s prodigious memory, which allowed him to learn in four days Prokofiev’s Sonata no. 7, thus receiving the dedication of the Ninth, and the numerous compositions that the major contemporary composers (Miaskovsky, Prokofiev, Shostakovich, Khachaturian) have dedicated to Oistrakh.
The collaboration between Richter and Oistrakh is spectacular, first of all because they are able to create an excellent relationship. No one steals the scene to the other, but rather two different and equally authoritative voices create a dialogue thanks to a peculiarity that unites them both and that perhaps is the real reason of the success of these sonatas. Both musicians play with the same intensity and share a concise and robust style, more oriented to musical force that to a refinement which would have been out of place. To Oistrakh’s monumental style responds well Richter’s precision and brilliance, so that in both of them you may perceive the same force. In addition, the variety of nuances that the two musicians can give to the compositions shows the feeling that they want to inspire and the deep understanding of Brahms’s and Franck’s music.
This is not an overwhelming CD, but it is a reflexive one: its strength lies in the listener’s constant mental effort and not in the enchantment. This is a high and difficult purpose, for the easiness with which you can lapse into boredom, and therefore it is possible only to highly talented musicians, such as Richter and Oistrakh.