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12.2.05

Dip Your Ears, No. 27 (Kraggerud's Grieg)

available at Amazon
E.Grieg, Violin Sonatas no. 1–3,
H.Kraggerud, H.Kjekshus
Naxos

Grieg's violin sonatas are best served on budget issues with two surveys available for $8 or less that cream the competition. There is Olivier Charlier (v) and Brigitte Engerer (pf) on HMU's budget-line Musique d'Abord with passion, tenderness, and splendid playing that makes all three Grieg sonatas shine in a warm light, perhaps warmer than you would expect from Ibsen-land. Speaking thereof, that's where the other excellent performers come from. Henning Kraggerud (v) and Helge Kjekshus (pf) were two very young musicians when they recorded the Naxos disc in '96. (See my review of their recent performance at the National Gallery of Art.) They are consistently faster and perhaps rawer than their French counterparts, and if the excitement is bought at the expense of the burnished and warm quality, the northern air that breathes through their reading makes up for it. You can't go wrong with either—heck, at that price, might as well go for both and compare for yourself.

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