Best Beethoven (Kreutzer Sonata) ever - Zino Francescatti

Edited: September 6, 2022, 7:32 PM · If this isn't the best audio/video performance of this Beethoven sonata, then I don't know what is.

Replies (19)

September 6, 2022, 7:33 PM · Sander - thanks so much for sharing that youtube! I can't necessarily say it is the best, but it is certainly one of the very good ones.
September 7, 2022, 1:44 AM · One of my first LPs was of Beethoven sonatas 3, 4 and 5 (Spring) played by the same combination of Francescatti and Robert Casadesus. Was it originally Columbia? They seemed to place microphones very close, but it gave a real sense of somebody actually playing for you.
September 7, 2022, 3:33 AM · video shows very clearly how to get the best out of a Strad! it's all in the bow speed! fantastic demonstration of violin technique up close! by the way, Sander, to answer your question "then what is?" the answer as we all know is "none" since there is no single natural total order on violin performances ;-)
September 7, 2022, 5:06 AM · Thanks for this, what a masterpiece! One (of many) things that stands out for me is how much motion Zino puts into the violin itself; it both opposes the bow and it rotates along the shoulder axis to facilitates string crossings, One of the best demonstrations of the freedom of SR-less playing that I have ever seen.
September 7, 2022, 6:37 AM · indeed Elise, that struck me as well!
September 7, 2022, 7:34 AM · Yes, yes, yes, all. Your responses are great. And yes, I have always thought that beside his playing itself, Francescatti's stage demeanor is second to none - the honest emotion, the concentration, the togetherness, etc. - are subtle, not overdone, and yet clearly project to the audience.
September 7, 2022, 11:39 AM · Looking forward to the video-- Francescatti has been somewhat forgotten today, and he was one of the great Strad men.

For pure audio, don't rule out Szigeti/Bartok (1940).

September 7, 2022, 12:50 PM · This is a magnificent performance. It was probably done in one take with no digital edits.
September 7, 2022, 1:07 PM · John: Yes, as I understand it, Francescatti usually preferred to make his recordings in one take.
September 7, 2022, 6:00 PM · Greetings,
if I recall correctly, Francescatti’s other joy in life was gardening. Doesn’t surprise me at all. Just naturalness and sunshine.
September 8, 2022, 2:23 AM · yes there is this nice item in "The Art of Violin" where he says "if I had not become a violinist, I would have become a gardener" :-)
September 8, 2022, 4:19 AM · For me personally, this is the version of the Kreutzer I come back to again and again; I think what she does there in the first few bars alone is divine!

September 8, 2022, 9:38 AM · That's a nice performance. I was listening to the Gould/Menuhin recordings too on YouTube.
Edited: September 8, 2022, 3:24 PM · Oleg - the Anne Sophie Mutter/Lambert Orkis Zohari Kreutzer is very fine. I don't know the Gould/Menuhin recording that Raymond has offered. It sounds interesting, and I shall listen tomorrow: I have listened to three recordings today. I very much like the recording by Yehudi Menuhin with his sister Hephzibah.

September 8, 2022, 10:54 PM · But don’t forget Milstein while you are at it. this was also ‘his’ work.
September 8, 2022, 11:06 PM · Agreed, Oleg. ASM rocks!
September 9, 2022, 4:44 AM · Buri...I shall happily make Milstein's work part of my 'work' for today.
Edited: September 9, 2022, 2:32 PM · How about this one?
Patricia Kopatchinskaja & Fazil Say

Perhaps because it was the first "Kreutzer" video I downloaded it has stuck in my head ever since, almost as a reference. I'm not claiming that it the best - as others have pointed out, that question essentially has no answer - but what comes to me time and again is why Beethoven didn't write it as Violin Concerto Nr 2, or as a Double Concerto for Violin and Piano?

September 19, 2022, 3:52 PM · It won't just be Francescatti - The Casadesus family were highly gifted musicians.

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