Fanfare Magazine, May 2015

In Fanfare 36:3, I urgently recommended Tomás Cotik's and Tao Lin's reading of Franz Schubert's 'Duo' in A Major, Rondo in B Minor, and Fantasy in C Major (Centaur 3250). This 'second installment,' as the booklet describes it, includes only the three sonatas originally published--and still sometimes published to this day--as 'sonatinas,' but originally designated 'sonatas' by the composer.  The Second Sonata's opening movement benefits as much as do the earlier sonata's outer ones from increased forward momentum: drama, though abundant, never trumps lyricism. The duo remains sensitive to opportunities for dialogue, even in passages that may not offer such obvious possibilities--in measures, for example, in which throbbing chords accompany slower-moving lines in the violin part. Because they're listening to each other, Cotik and Lin make listeners pay attention to them as well. They enhance their reading of the second movement with effective dynamic contrasts and great beauty of tone--Lin's as well as Cotik's (Cotik's preference for vibrato as an ornament in these works hardly prevents him from generating great insinuating warmth in the lower registers)....  Cotik and Lin find transforming musical interest--and rhetoric--even in its prima facie most repetitious passages. Cotik never indulges in violinistic brilliance at the expense of music, but he sounds consistently brilliant nevertheless. Listeners who prefer the beguiling beauty of Pinchas Zukerman's readings of these works in the grand manner with Marc Neikrug, released on Biddulph 80250, which I urgently recommended in Fanfare 34:5, may not find Cotik's different angle of observation equally revealing; but for those open to so thoughtful a violinist as Cotik, these readings should stand beside them on the shelf. Strongly recommended for its thoughtful and well-informed notes as well as for its thoughtful and well-informed performances. Robert Maxham READ MORE