Beethoven: Violin Sonata No. 9 "Kreutzer" Isabelle Faust and Alexander Melnikov

Album info



Label: Harmonia Mundi

Genre: Classical

Artist: Isabelle Faust and Alexander Melnikov

Composer: Ludwig van Beethoven (1770–1827)

Album including Album cover


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  • Violin Sonata No. 9 in A Major, Op. 47 "Kreutzer":
  • 1Violin Sonata No. 9 in A Major, Op. 47 "Kreutzer": I. Adagio sostenuto (Presto)13:22
  • 2Violin Sonata No. 9 in A Major, Op. 47 "Kreutzer": II. Andante con variazioni13:41
  • 3Violin Sonata No. 9 in A Major, Op. 47 "Kreutzer": III. Finale (Presto)08:16
  • Total Runtime35:19

Info for Beethoven: Violin Sonata No. 9 "Kreutzer"

Beethoven described his Kreutzer Sonata as being written ‘in a very concertante style, more like that of a concerto,’ so it makes an apt companion-piece for his actual Violin Concerto. Isabelle Faust and Alexander Melnikov give a bold, sweeping performance with a real sense of spontaneity, and Harmonia Mundi’s engineers have done them proud. Both players find an extra ounce of intensity in the repeats, though it’s a pity Melnikov takes it upon himself to add a decorative twirl to Beethoven’s deliberately plain repeated chords in the interjections where the finale’s tarantella rhythm suddenly changes – a tiny lapse in taste that isn’t shared by Faust in the violin’s answering phrases.

If the Violin Concerto fares less well, it’s largely on account of the rather faceless contribution from the Prague Philharmonic and Ji?í B?lohlávek. Their opening tutti is so metronomic that Faust’s very free first entry comes as a shock; and in the slow movement B?lohlávek irons out the main theme’s ‘dotted’ rhythm, diminishing its essential expressive character. The album booklet is silent on the subject of cadenzas, but like a few other players – among them Wolfgang Schneiderhan, Thomas Zehetmair and Gidon Kremer – Faust has adapted the ones Beethoven himself provided when he hurriedly rewrote the work as a piano concerto. All such versions of the first-movement cadenza feature the timpani, but only Kremer bizarrely has an off-stage piano in addition. The Schneiderhan and Zehetmair performances are still among the best around, with the latter offering a compellingly coherent view of the often over-relaxed opening movement. Misha Donat,

Isabelle Faust, violin
Alexander Melnikov, piano
Prague Philharmonia
Jiri Belohlavek, conductor

Isabelle Faust
adopts a perspective on music in which ever-new experiences and discoveries are the principal focus. Having founded a string quartet when just eleven, her early chamber music experiences imbued in her a fundamental belief that performing is a process of giving and taking, in which listening is just as important as expressing your own personality. Victory at the 1987 Leopold Mozart Competition, when she was just 15, brought with it the prospect of a solo career. However, the guiding principles instilled in her as a chamber musician remained strong.

After winning the 1993 Paganini Competition, she moved to France, where she grew to love the French repertoire, particularly the music of Fauré and Debussy. Here she came to international attention with her first recording - sonatas by Bartók, Szymanowski and Janácek – and gradually refined her command of the most important works in the violin repertoire. Isabelle Faust has since appeared with some of the world’s finest orchestras, including the Berliner and Münchner Philharmoniker, Orchestre de Paris, Boston Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, and Mahler Chamber Orchestra, under such conductors as Claudio Abbado, Giovanni Antonini, Jiri Belohlavek, Franz Brüggen, Daniel Harding or Mariss Jansons.

Whilst not neglecting the classical and romantic repertoire, she is a noted interpreter of the great twentieth-century works of Feldman, Jolivet, Ligeti, Nono, and Scelsi. She has premiered pieces by such composers as Olivier Messiaen, Werner Egk or Jörg Widmann, and works dedicated to her by the composers Thomas Larcher and Michael Jarrell. Isabelle Faust has made several recordings of chamber music for harmonia mundi on both modern and period instruments with partner Alexander Melnikov. Many of her critically acclaimed CDs have won prizes, including the Diapason d’Or and the Gramophone Award. Isabelle Faust plays the ‘Sleeping Beauty’ Stradivarius of 1704, kindly loaned to her by the L-Bank Baden Württemberg.

Alexander Melnikov
was born in Moscow in 1973 and began his music studies at the age of six at Moscow’s Central Music School. He then continued at the city’s Tchaikovsky Conservatory from which he graduated in 1997. Regularly invited by Sviatoslav Richter, he participated in his festivals in Moscow (December Nights) and his chamber music festival at La Grange deMeslay. He completed his postgraduate studies with Elisso Virssaladze in Munich. From 2000 to 2002 he was a BBC New Generation Artist. Alexander Melnikov appears regularly in recital at the world’s leading concert halls with major orchestras such as the Russian National Orchestra, Tokyo Philharmonic, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Philadelphia Orchestra and BBC Philharmonic. Besides his well-established duo with Isabelle Faust, his partners include Vadim Repin, Natalia Gutman, Alexander Rudin, Victor Tretiakov, the Borodin Quartet, Truls Mørk, Jean-Guihen Queyras, and many others. In piano duo repertoire he appears regularly with Andreas Staier, Boris Berezovsky, and Alexei Lubimov. He also regularly performs on the fortepiano with Concerto Köln. He has recorded several CDs on harmonia mundi as a soloist(Scriabin, Rachmaninoff) and as a chamber musician (Isabelle Faust,Jean-Guihen Queyras, Teunis van der Zwart).

This album contains no booklet.

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