The Strad Issue: January 2009
Musicians: Anton Steck (violin) Christian Goosses (viola)
Composer: Haydn

Anton Steck and Christian Goosses bring much vitality and refined musicianship to these performances, captured here in a clear and resonant recording. One’s pleasure remains undisturbed by the ‘balance of power’ in these distinctly violin-centric works, as reflected in their composer’s title: ‘Sei Solo per il violino’.

Steck’s period violin playing is accomplished, but marred occasionally by some dubious intonation and groping for notes. Nevertheless, it has a spontaneity and vigour that are winning, particularly in the opening movements of nos.5 and 6, in which his lyrical lines, tasteful rubato and strong personality predominate. His accounts of the expansive central Adagios are well sustained and warmly expressive, especially those of nos.1 and 2 and the lilting quasi-sicilienne of no.3, subtly embellished. The finales capture the essence of the minuet and Steck revels in the virtuosity spawned by their numerous variants, executing the Tempo di menuet of no.4 with particular elegance and aplomb.

Goosses supports him throughout with a rich tone, expressive sensitivity and ideal blend and balance. Regrettably, my copy of Accent’s booklet duplicates the French translation of the notes about the music, omitting the English entirely, and doubles up on the biographical information in French and English, omitting the German.