There are two really famous Beethoven violin sonatas, the Kreutzer and the Spring. The Kreutzer Sonata inspired the story by Leo Tolstoy, which in turn became the subject of Janácek's First String Quartet, so if you're into comparative studies in the arts, there's a thesis topic for you! The Spring Sonata was featured in Woody Allen's Love and Death, among other places. And perhaps most intriguingly of all, the scherzo of the late sonata, Op. 96, turns up quite clearly in the third movement of Mahler's Second Symphony.
In his introductory note to this CD, Itzhak Perlman informs us that, more than anything else he has recorded, this is truly his own music–"what you might hear if you came to my house and I decided to jam with some friends." And jam he does–with some very talented friends indeed. Klezmer music, which combines the folk and religious music of Yiddish-speaking cultures with various musical traditions of countries such as Russia, Turkey, and Greece, is unusual territory for a major label and a superstar artist, but here the combination works perfectly.
The performances heard on this recording by the superstar duo of violinist Itzhak Perlman and pianist Martha Argerich do not exactly form a discrete group: the first work, Schumann's Violin Sonata No. 1 in A minor, Op. 105, was recorded live in 1998, while the rest consists of 2016 studio recordings. The 1998 performance, however, was part of a concert in Saratoga Springs, New York, that provided the stimulus for the joint recording. The Schumann sonata performance was not released at that time, and the rest of the program expands on the music it presents. It's nice to have the Schumann, which has a good deal of tension and energy. As for the rest, it's hard to point to a clear decline in the skills of either of the septuagenarian performers.
In the latter twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, Itzhak Perlman has been acclaimed as being among the leading violinists before the public, and, without doubt, has been the most visible of them in media venues, from recordings and radio broadcasts to television and film appearances. No other concert violinist and few other serious musicians have achieved the widespread exposure and popularity attained by Perlman.
Originally recorded in 1981, digitally remastered in 1988, and reissued here in 2010, Perlman's recording of the Beethoven Violin Concerto with Carlo Maria Giulini and the Philharmonia Orchestra needs little introduction for collectors. For listeners seeking their first recording of this seminal work, Perlman and Giulini offer one of the most solid, reliable readings of the concerto available.
Wieniawski's scintillating works are played with brilliance and great musical charm here by Perlman and Sanders (piano) for the duets, and Ozawa conducting the LPO for the concertos. It is somtimes said that Perlman's playing has often been recorded too "forward", so one can hear the "between the notes" bowing sounds when he plays.
In 2004, EMI released The Perlman Edition, a limited-edition 15-CD box set featuring many of his finest EMI recordings as well as newly compiled material and RCA Red Seal released a CD titled Perlman reDISCOVERED which includes material recorded in 1965 by a young Itzhak Perlman.