Davide Amodio plays on a gut-strung 1793 F. Pique violin for this reading of Beethoven’s ‘Kreutzer’ Sonata, partnered by Edoardo Torbianelli on an 1823 Iakesh fortepiano. In the accompanying notes, Amodio avows that they aim to ‘retrieve the fresh spirit of improvisation’ through the use of period instruments – and the players certainly achieve a measure of suppleness and immediacy, aided by a spacious and well-rounded recording. Amodio’s tone has a shining resonance that really glows in places, and Torbianelli gives fleet-fingered support throughout.
The performance, though, is rather uneven. Amodio, so assured and lithe in the lyrical moments, makes heavy weather of the quick-fire passages in the first-movement Presto, and also sounds ill at ease in the faster variations – they lack the required effortlessness, ends of phrases are sometimes snatched and tuning is not always true. Composure is regained to some extent with the dancing Presto finale.
The sonatas by Rodolphe Kreutzer and Ferdinand Ries are rather more successful, perhaps thanks to less challenging technical demands. Kreutzer’s Sonata is nicely paced and full of charm, and Ries’s brooding C sharp minor Sonata brings some delicately long-drawn phrases, particularly in the middle-movement Adagio, where the pair expertly manage the music’s ebb and flow.
From the December 2010 issue. Subscribe to The Strad or download our digital edition as part of a 30-day free trial.