Beethoven - Violin Sonatas 6 & 9 ‘Kreutzer’ | Onyx ONYX4170

Beethoven - Violin Sonatas 6 & 9 ‘Kreutzer’


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Label: Onyx

Cat No: ONYX4170

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 1

Genre: Chamber

Release Date: 24th February 2017



The duo of old friends, James Ehnes and Andrew Armstrong, has established itself as one of the most exciting of our times. Their albums of violin sonatas by Franck and Strauss, and Debussy, Elgar and Respighi have been praised by critics worldwide. For this new album they turn to Beethoven and two A major sonatas with very different moods. The Ninth, ‘Kreutzer’ Sonata, is a huge work, heroic and turbulent in character – a kind of concerto for violin and piano. It is middle-period Beethoven at its most dramatic. By contrast, the Sixth Sonata is a serene, introspective work of great beauty which has tended to be overlooked by its more outward-looking siblings. The intimacy of this Sonata – especially the slow movement - is all the more surprising as the original finale was removed by the composer, to become the finale of the ‘Kreutzer’. Beethoven wrote the gentle variations to conclude the Sixth Sonata.


This is James Ehnes’s first disc of Beethoven sonatas and I very much hope it will herald a complete survey. He is joined by his regular partner-in-crime, Andrew Armstrong, and their long familiarity pays real dividends. The coupling of the Kreutzer with Op 30 No 1 is also musically astute, as the latter’s original Presto finale ended up as the concluding movement of the KreutzerHarriet Smith
Gramophone May 2017
Violinist James Ehnes and pianist Andrew Armstrong play together with an easy spark and suppleness that only old friends really can. In the past they’ve done excellent things with Franck, Strauss, Debussy and Elgar; now they turn to Beethoven with the same combination of light touch and searing focus. There’s a clarity of ideas that means they never have to overstate – take the initial phrase of the Kreutzer Sonata, the impeccably eloquent way the opening chord clouds from radiance to shade so decisively. Flashes of white heat in that sonata subside into a graceful reading of the Sixth.  Kate Molleson
The Guardian 16 February 2017
Gramophone Editor's Choice

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