Isabelle van Keulen (violin) & Ronald Brautigam (piano
On their fourth Challenge Classics recording, the highly successful Dutch duo of Isabelle van Keulen and Ronald Brautigam perform the complete works for violin and piano by Sergei Prokofiev. The pieces are the Sonata in F minor opus 80, the Sonata in D major opus 94, and the Five Melodies opus 35a.
Prokofiev only produced three works for the combination of violin and piano, two of which are transcriptions by the composer himself. The Second Sonata was originally written for flute and piano while the Five Melodies are song arrangements. The opus numbers and titles of both sonatas are misleading since the D major Sonata opus 94 had its premiere before the opus 80 Sonata in F minor.
Isabelle van Keulen has an established reputation as a violinist and violist of world class stature. She is closely involved in the performance of contemporary music, and works by living composers are part of her repertoire. Though she has performed with many famous orchestras and conductors as a soloist, chamber music is central to her music-making. She is particularly well-known for her formidable duo with pianist Ronald Brautigam and they appear together regularly at the Wigmore Hall in London.
Ronald Brautigam is one of Holland’s leading musicians. Over the last few years he has released several recordings with Isabelle van Keulen on Challenge Classics including CDs featuring Shostakovich’s Violin and Viola Sonatas (CC72071), Violin Sonatas by Richard Strauss, Respighi and Rota (CC72307), and music for violin and piano by Grieg, Elgar, and Sibelius (CC72171).
Five Melodies for Violin and Piano, Op. 35b
Violin Sonata No. 1 in F minor, Op. 80
Violin Sonata No. 2 in D major, Op. 94a
"This is a thoroughly delightful disc of music that shows Prokofiev’s amazing versatility as composer and arranger in three contrasting works...[van Keulen] is a superbly sensitive player who reveals every nuance in these wonderful works.[Brautigam] shows himself as a perfect partner. This is a disc of beauty and superb musicianship; a winning combination."
MusicWeb International - 26th April 2013
"Musicians of rare versatility...Those who favour sensibly conceived programmes in physical format could do a great deal worse than the present disc even if Prokofiev needs to smile more than these artists allow."
Gramophone Magazine - May 2013
"Van Keulen is most successful in the 'lighter' works, particularly the Five Melodies...Van Keulen's generally brisk and no-nonsense approach, though, gives little room for stronger emotions."
BBC Music Magazine - December 2013 ***