Antoine Tamestit discusses how he found an ideal piano–viola balance and came to love Brahms, after a long struggle. Here he covers the first and second movements, in the first of two articles
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Although I started playing Brahms’s sonatas when I was a student, I did not feel comfortable with them for a long time – even after I had studied them with Jean Sulem in Paris, Jesse Levine in the States and Tabea Zimmermann in Berlin. I always felt drowned out by the many notes and full chords in the piano part, until I met Cédric Tiberghien, with whom I recently recorded them. He is a poetic, subtle pianist with a refined touch, who always prioritises colour over virtuosity, and he sang every line so smoothly on the piano, without ever being aggressive or too strong about it, that the balance became clearer. Suddenly I saw the genius of Brahms’s writing…
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