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Classical - Released June 25, 2013 | BIS

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Gramophone Editor's Choice
The music of Paul Hindemith can't be called crowd-pleasing. Even the overtly radical works of Schoenberg and Webern carried well-defined innovations that listeners might be excited by or reject, but with Hindemith there's always the sense that he is experimenting with the solution to a new problem each time out. Of course, this can just as easily be a stimulating challenge as a problem, and this collection of works for a single instrument from across Hindemith's career provides a good way into his music. Violinist Frank Peter Zimmermann, joined in Hindemith's sole full-scale violin concerto (quite an underplayed work, perhaps because it is so atypical) by the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra under Paavo Järvi, deliver very strong performances expertly modulated to works of very different types. The performers show little faith in their audience by beginning with the Violin Concerto of 1939, for it really belongs at the end of the career traced by the four works for violin and piano or violin solo. The concerto is an unusually passionate work for Hindemith, and annotator Malcolm MacDonald is probably right in linking it to the composer's reaction to the outbreak of World War II. The smaller works are, true to form, all different: the Debussy-influenced Violin Sonata in E flat major, Op. 11/1, the almost whimsical Sonata for solo violin, Op. 31/2, the coolly abstract Violin Sonata in E major of 1935, and the entirely novel Violin Sonata in C major of 1939, each of whose movements is longer than the one that precedes it. Zimmermann and Järvi give a sense of this music as it unfolded against the backdrop of the Weimar Republic and the increasing Nazi cultural oppression that followed it, and they communicate something of the elusive whole that lies behind Hindemith's individual utterances. Highly recommended. © TiVo
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Classical - Released August 24, 2010 | Ondine

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Choc de Classica - Hi-Res Audio
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Violin Concertos - Released November 6, 2020 | BIS

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or / Arte
When there is so much to love about Bohuslav Martinů's two Violin Concertos, it's surprising that we hear so little of them from the top artists of today. So the first thing to say here is simply that it's very good news indeed to have the pair now being championed on BIS by the likes of Frank Peter Zimmermann and acclaimed Martinů interpreter Jakub Hrůša. Then, the further good news is that what they've produced is every bit as good one would have hoped. Concerto No. 2 opens the programme. Written in 1943 for Mischa Elman, and premiered the same year, it was swiftly taken up by other violinists of the period, who were no doubt instantly beguiled by its romance and lyricism, and its by strong Czech folk echoes. Here, the Bamberger Symphoniker's opening orchestral tutti fabulously sets the tone: full, wide and trembling; glossily rich and rhythmically sharp, followed by Zimmermann himself displaying all his usual polish and precision (the silkiest of double-stops), while occasionally spicing his sweetly silvery and singing tone with just the right dose of folk edge. The central Andante doesn't hang around — it's a good 2'20” faster than Isabelle Faust's exquisite reading on harmonia mundi — but the overriding impression is simply one of airy movement, with an infectious sense of carefree pastoral joy from everyone. The third movement is then nothing short of a joyride, and indeed one over which it's often the high-octane orchestra that shines most brightly, for its technical pizazz, and chameleon-like reinventions over the score's constantly shifting shapes, colours and moods. Next comes Concerto No. 1, and if ever a concerto were a wronged Cinderella then it's this one. Penned in 1931 while Martinů was living in Paris, it's again alive with Czech folk inflections, but this time sitting within a neoclassical language no doubt inspired by his fellow Paris-based émigré, Stravinsky. It was also written for the dedicatee of Stravinsky's own Violin Concerto of 1931, Samuel Dushkin. However, unlike with Stravinsky, Dushkin refused to play ball with Martinů — demanding successive revisions, delaying performing it, and refusing other violinists to premiere it in his place, until eventually the work was put to one side. The manuscript was eventually rediscovered in 1968, nine years after Martinů's death, and premiered in 1973 by Josef Suk. It's hard to know for sure whether the violin part's virtuosities were more a result of Dushkin's penchant for display, or of Martinů flexing his own violinistic muscles (it was as a violinist that he first entered the Prague Conservatory). Either way, Zimmermann dispatches its fiendish acrobatics with vim-filled perfection, matched over every hop, skip and jump by the crisply fleet-footed and exuberant orchestra. Frankly, all the above would be enough to sell this recording. However Zimmermann then also gifts us with a compellingly impassioned reading of Bartók's Hungarian folk and Bach-influenced Sonata for Solo Violin of 1944. © Charlotte Gardner/Qobuz
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Classical - Released December 2, 2016 | BIS

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
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Chamber Music - Released April 9, 2021 | BIS

Hi-Res Booklet
2020 saw the release of the first instalment in this three-album traversal of Beethoven’s Violin Sonatas – a recording that has garnered many distinctions. As Frank Peter Zimmermann and Martin Helmchen open the second step, they do so with the iconic "Spring" Sonata, Op. 24. Completed in 1801, the work proved immediately popular with a second edition appearing only months after the first publication. There were also numerous arrangements for a variety of forces – including a song based on motifs from the sonata’s slow movement. Soon after completing Op. 24, Beethoven began work on a set of three sonatas of which the first two are included here. Musically the Op. 30 sonatas continue the development that had begun with the "Spring" Sonata towards a contrast-rich, symphonic style. Beethoven originally planned to end the first and shortest of the three with the expansive movement that later became the finale of the great "'Kreutzer" Sonata. As this would clearly have ruined the proportions of the work, he eventually replaced it with a set of variations. Closing this recording is the Second Sonata of Op. 30, in C minor. It is the most important of the set; a genuine Grande Sonate in four movements, and an early example of Beethoven’s "heroic" style. © BIS Records
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Chamber Music - Released September 4, 2020 | BIS

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Simply magical. This release, beautifully recorded at the Villa Siemens in Berlin, initiates a complete set of Beethoven’s Violin and Piano Sonatas on BIS Records by two of the most extraordinary chamber musicians. Two musicians, of such sharp and intense refinement, violinist Frank Peter Zimmermann and pianist Martin Helmchen. It’s surprising to find these two artists on a label that isn't the home of their solo projects; Helmchen records for Alpha, and Zimmermann for Ondine. BIS, which is actually the label of Zimmermann’s brilliant trio, have recovered the Holy Grail, as the two musicians are in perfect musical harmony! Everything seems smooth, supple, the musical dialogue incomparably elegant, balanced and fitting. It was only after a few recitals that the first recording sessions took place in September 2019: the miracles that occur in concert seem to grace the recording sessions. If in doubt, start with the Third Sonata. © Pierre-Yves Lascar/Qobuz
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Chamber Music - Released September 3, 2021 | BIS

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Previous instalments of the Beethoven sonata cycle from Frank Peter Zimmermann and Martin Helmchen have met with wide acclaim. Described as "conversations by a perfect instrumental pairing" in BBC Music Magazine. This the third and final volume brings together Beethoven's last three works in the genre, composed between 1801 and 1812. The centre-piece is the Ninth Sonata, the famed "Kreutzer"-Sonata. The title page of the first edition described the sonata as "written in a highly concertante style" and it does indeed surpass everything that had previously been written in the genre, in terms of scale as well as technical and compositional complexity. It is preceded by the more lightweight Sonata No. 8 in G major, in which ideas and motifs chase each other until the end of the whirlwind finale. Also in G major, Beethoven’s Tenth and final Violin Sonata closes the volume. It was composed almost ten years after the "Kreutzer", and is certainly less spectacular. In no way is it a step backwards in artistic terms, however: exchanging drama and heroics with songful intimacy, it is rather one of the works through which Beethoven freed himself from the depression into which he had fallen after renouncing his "Immortal Beloved". © BIS Records
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Classical - Released January 19, 2018 | haenssler CLASSIC

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The particular interest of this recording from the German violinist Frank Peter Zimmermann is in its juxtaposition of two "original" Bach concertos for violin, and two "reconstructed" concertos based on versions which we know existed but whose earlier versions are lost. This is the case for the Concerto in D Minor BWV1052R ("R" for "reconstructed"), which everyone knows as one of Bach's most famous piano concertos, but whose underlying score for violin stands out. Concerto BWV1060R has become known in the collective consciousness as a "concerto for violin and oboe", whereas the initial work seems to have been conceived for two violins. In the latter case, Zimmermann is joined by... Zimmermann - but not by means of "re-recording": this Zimmermann is his son, Serge, a violinist in his own right. Alert, vivacious performances, at furious tempos, give this music an air of modernity. An excellent accompaniment is guaranteed thanks to the impeccable  Berliner Barocksolisten, the baroque chamber orchestra who grew out of the Berlin Philharmonic. © SM/Qobuz
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Classical - Released September 5, 2006 | ECM New Series

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Classical - Released December 3, 2007 | Sony Classical

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Classical - Released March 4, 2016 | haenssler CLASSIC

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Frank Peter Zimmermann demonstrates his love for the music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in his second installment of the violin concertos on Hänssler Classic. The Violin Concerto No. 2 in D major, K. 211, the Turkish-flavored Violin Concerto No. 5 in A major, K. 219, and the Sinfonia Concertante in E flat major, K. 364 complete the series and make a satisfying program, while Zimmermann's polished and lively playing complements his fine work on the first volume. Backed by Radoslaw Szulc and the Chamber Orchestra of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Zimmermann interprets these works with a happy compromise between modern and period styles, though the small scale of the orchestra and its bright accompaniment already come close to imitating an authentic Classical sound, so distinctions are probably moot. Zimmermann is joined by violist Antoine Tamestit in the Sinfonia Concertante, and their poignant dialogue in the Andante is the most moving music of the album. But the joy and energy of the two concerto performances are guaranteed to engage the listener, and Haenssler's pristine recording captures all the subtle details with great clarity. © TiVo
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Classical - Released January 9, 2009 | Sony Classical

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Classical - Released October 12, 2003 | LucasRecords

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Classical - Released December 13, 2011 | New York Philharmonic

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Classical - Released April 23, 2012 | EMI

Already an internationally acclaimed violinist at 26, Frank Peter Zimmermann landed his EMI contract in 1990. His first release was this 1991 disc, which opened with an emotionally stunning performance of Berg's Violin Concerto and closed with a virtuosically staggering performance of Ravel's Tzigane. Zimmermann followed this with equally successful recordings of concertos by Sibelius and Prokofiev, Beethoven's concerto and Romances, Mendelssohn's concerto, and sonatas by Debussy, Janácek, and Mozart. Zimmermann's 1995 release coupling Brahms' concerto with Mozart's Third Concerto is arguably the best of his EMI recordings. With the supremely musical accompaniment of Wolfgang Sawallisch leading the Berlin Philharmonic, Zimmermann's performances are as ineffably lyrical, as emotionally dedicated, and as virtuosically devastating as ever. His performance of Mozart's concerto glides luminously in the infinite empyrean, the coda of his central Adagio is proof of the blessedness of life. His performance of Brahms' concerto sings radiantly in the eternal paradise, the cadenza of his opening Allegro non troppo is evidence of the goodness of life. Re-released in 2005 with many of Zimmermann's other EMI recordings on its budget Encore series, this coupling of Brahms and Mozart is well worth hearing by anyone who missed it ten years earlier and by anyone who loves great violin playing. EMI's mid-'90s digital sound is rich, lush, and full. © TiVo
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Classical - Released April 17, 2012 | New York Philharmonic

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Classical - Released January 1, 2000 | CapriccioNR

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Classical - Released July 18, 2005 | Sony Classical

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Classical - Released February 28, 2003 | Warner Classics

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Classical - Released February 28, 2003 | Warner Classics