While well-played and well-recorded, it is impossible to work up much enthusiasm for these performances of Brahms' Violin Sonatas (3). Violinist Peter Csaba has a sweet, slightly tart tone and a supple, sensitive technique, and pianist Jean-Francois Heisser is a strong, soulful pianist who stays with but ever-so-slightly beneath the violinist.
But their performance not only doesn't catch fire; it doesn't often get warm. Csaba's melodies don't sing, sigh, and soar.
Heisser's chords don't hold, mold, and embrace. As impressive as Csaba and Heisser's performances are, they are ultimately unaffecting and unfortunately forgettable. Praga's SACD sound focuses on the violin, capturing every noise down to the rosin of the bow across the strings, but it puts the piano about a dozen feet behind and to the right of the violin, making the performance seem less than a partnership of equals than a soloist standing at the edge of the stage with an accompanist sitting hear the curtain.
|Sonata for violin & piano No. 1 in G major ("Regen"), Op. 78|
|1. Vivace ma non troppo||Peter Csaba||10:49|
|2. Adagio||Peter Csaba||7:48|
|3. Allegro molto moderato||Peter Csaba||8:32|
|Sonata for violin & piano No. 2 in A major ("Thun"), Op. 100|
|1. Allegro amabile||Peter Csaba||8:31|
|2. Andante tranquillo - Vivace - Andante Vivace di più - Andante - Vivace||Peter Csaba||6:27|
|3. Allegretto grazioso (quasi andante)||Peter Csaba||5:25|
|Sonata for violin & piano No. 3 in D minor, Op. 108|
|1. Allegro||Peter Csaba||7:54|
|2. Adagio||Peter Csaba||4:51|
|3. Un poco presto e con sentimento||Peter Csaba||2:50|
|4. Presto agitato||Peter Csaba||5:57|