Beethoven dedicated his last work, which he composed for the violin sonata genre, to the French virtuoso Pierre Rode. The theme of the Allegro assai is reminiscent of Beethoven's 4th Piano Concerto. Apart from that, this movement is a prime example of the ideal interplay of piano and violin that inspired young composers such as Franz Schubert. The second movement also displays this "dialogical principle" in a variety of ways: Piano and violin constantly alternate in accompanying and melodic functions. The fourth movement is a variation movement whose theme is based on a then popular song from the Singspiel: "Der lustige Schuster" by Johann Adam Hiller. The different characters of the individual sections offer the violinist in particular the opportunity to demonstrate his interpretive and technical abilities.
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