The so-called "Kreutzer Sonata" is Beethoven's most famous and, with a playing time of 40 minutes, most monumental violin sonata. It begins with a solo of the violin held at a slow tempo. As the piano enters, the initial major gradually tilts into minor, with fast runs and short, powerful chords shaping the action. The second movement is a variation movement marked by strong contrasts: the lyrical and the dramatic face each other. In the concluding Rondo the listener immediately recognizes a heated Tarantella in 6/8 time.
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