The Violin Sonatas op. 12 are all dedicated to Beethoven's teacher Antonio Salieri, probably in the hope that the influential Italian composer will promote Beethoven's career. It can clearly be heard that Beethoven is strongly influenced by Mozart's violin sonatas in so far as piano and violin appear as equal. He also adopted the three-movement form from the Salzburg prodigy. The first movement is characterized by different motifs, which Beethoven repeatedly picks up and drops again. The slow variation movement is followed by an unusual third movement: it seems like a mixture of rondo and sonata form.
For this sonata cycle, recorded at the Salzburg Festival, the Greek violinist Leonidas Kavakos teams up with the Italian pianist Enrico Pace to perform the complete Violin Sonatas by Ludwig van Beethoven – available in ten single episodes, one for each sonata. Kavakos is one of today’s most widely admired and sought-after artists – dubbed “The Violinist of Violinists” by the classical music magazine The Strad – Leonidas Kavakos won the 1985 International Sibelius Competition at the age of only 18, as the youngest contestant that year, before going on to scoop up a string of other top awards. Pace is an equally illustrious contemporary and a first prize winner at both the 1987 International Yamaha and the 1989 International Franz Liszt competitions. “Together these two make magic” (Buffalo News), “an ideally attuned, technically perfect duo” (Die Presse).
“The silken sweetness of Kavakos’s Stradivarius was beyond beautiful”. (Dallas Morning News)
“A magician of the violin, who infuses even the slightest breath of a tone with expression.” (Der Tagesspiegel )
“Stunning... he might be the most deeply satisfying violinist performing today.” (Philadelphia Inquirer)
He isn't just an exceptional violinist, he is also an excellent musician . . . [he] offers absorbing listening. His classical style is impeccable, and the tone . . . ideal throughout. He's extremely well served by his partner. Record Review / David Mellor, Daily Mail (London) / 13. January 2013