Beethoven: Violin Sonatas – No 4 in A minor, Op 23; No 5 in F major, Op 24 (Spring); No 7 in C minor, Op 30 No 2

Reviewed on Thu 12 Apr, 2018

The Spring Sonata's opening movement brooks no dawdling, yet its inherent lyricism also speaks through malleable tempos within a purposeful pulse.

Joseph Kerman believed that for Beethoven, the violin sonata was “never a very solemn form”. But it could be a passionate one, the forthright keyboard parts in all 10 sonatas also reflecting the composer’s title, ‘Sonatas for Piano with Violin’. Nevertheless, many an early recording treated the pianist as an apologetic accompanist. Not Rubicon, who give Danny Driver his full due, which makes for a genuine partnership between two musical minds judiciously placed for telling aesthetic results. Sinewy playing from Chloë Hanslip matching the dynamism of Driver in No 5 is an example of how many facets are balanced. The opening movement brooks no dawdling, yet its inherent lyricism also speaks through malleable tempos within a purposeful pulse. And the second – marked Adagio molto espressivo – is exactly so, with plenty of feeling without a trace of mawkishness, just as the finale is an example of tense vehemence. Let’s hope for many more recordings from this duo.
–Nalen Anthoni