"CD of the week" in Klassik Heute
[...] As Mirjam Tschopp is equally skilled on both instruments, she and her partner are a dream team – which on the CD greatly enhances the close relationship between the two sonatas.
Anyone who equates the term "plunge" with impetuosity or unreflected youthful passion is soon taught otherwise. We need terms such as wide awake, crystal clear, enlightened – or: scrupulous and with razor-sharp precision. For it is precisely these qualities which are behind the moments of excitement, when the softer the sound, the greater the intensity becomes. Tschopp and Bovino turn "piano" into what it is in Shostakovich: something profound, that lies in wait! The duo plays these sections sparingly and in a minimalist way, almost alarming in their insistence, and are adept at building the drama with endlessly graded dynamics.
At the beginning of op. 134 the violin uses a twelve-tone scale to launch an imploring lament, while the piano has a single line over long stretches. The less notes, the more urgent they are. This principle, which Shostakovich carries to extremes - especially in the last sonatas - is deeply internalized by this duo. Tschopp’s violin sound is low in vibrato, elegant and supremely powerful. Emerging from troubled repose, the dynamic increases sound like furious and rebellious impulses. The fast, loud, extrovert middle movements are purposeful and relentlessly rhythmical. It is fascinating how often in the many fast syncopated sections percussive piano interjections mesh with shrill pizzicato flashes. Slow-fast-slow, this radical inversion of the “normal” movement sequence is played with well-dosed symmetry by the artists.
These qualities are no less apparent in the second sonata recorded here – although under the hands of the duo this ‘swansong’ begins in an even more introverted fashion than its predecessor, with flashes of more heartfelt elements and a passionate central dancing movement which appears to burst with positivity. Yet even when this last composition of a genius soars to movingly beautiful, fragile melodies, it is never long before they are undermined, often by grotesque caricatures. Dodecaphonic elements and the occasional direct influence of Alban Berg are clearly apparent in this late work. The duo’s clarity ensures that we experience the exciting friction between intellectually challenging dodecaphony and many emotional elements of the Russian musical idiom.