on June 11, 2001
Chamber music is a tricky thing, particularly for musicians with a highly personal musical style. How do you share a composition with other player(s) without compromising what you want to do with the piece? In intrinsically balanced compositions, such as string quartets, the problem seems to be more manageable. In sonatas for instrument and piano, however, the issue is much more tangible. The challenge can be tackled in various ways: the Perlman/Ashkenazy approach is one of perfect matching of interpretaion, which leads to a very smooth and "clean" result. The Zukerman/Barenboim approach is more liberal. The phrasing of the two is not identical, Barenboim sometimes brings things "out" that Zukerman does not, etc. The end result is gritty (partly also because of the wonderful "earthliness" of Zukerman's tone) dramatic and highly poetic, not in a sweet way. This is a magical performance. It perhaps takes a little while to get used to this higly individual approach (I was very used to the Perlman/Ashkenazy couple, in particular in their stellar Beethoven set, so I had to adjust a little...) but what can I say - I became addicted...
on March 24, 2001
If Franks and Serkin get a 5-star rating for their Brahms Violin Sonata performance, Zukerman and Barenboim get a 6-star! I own both cds and the Zukerman/Barenboim version is more solid in sound and rendered with more emotion than the Franks/Serkin version. Besides, with the Zukerman/Barenboim version you get more Brahms for your money. A no-brainer, a must for any Brahms collector !