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Duncan Druce
, October 2002

"This is uncommonly fine sounding Brahms. The recording, made in Toronto, is full and warm, with excellent balance between violin and piano. Alexander Peskanov's pianism is richly expressive, and Ilya Kaler produces a fine, appealing tone. Their approach to all three sonatas, moreover, is thoughtful and discerning. It's certainly a record to enjoy."

Joseph Magil
American Record Guide, October 2002

"These are very polished, very beautiful, very intelligent readings of these sonatas, and are among the greatest ever made. The recorded sound is full, clear, and perfectly balanced. Ilya Kaler is a superb violinist capable of telling nuance who doesn't take a single misstep in this music, and Alexander Peskanov's gorgeous, intelligent playing is a tremendous improvement over what he did with this music on his recording with Eugene Fodor that was released six years ago. Indeed, you could spend twice as much for any number of far inferior recordings. This is certainly the best choice for listeners on a budget, and anyone who already owns recordings of these sonatas would do well to check this one out."

Scott Cantrell
The Dallas Morning News, May 2002

"The Brahms...violin sonatas represent the composer at his finest, the music a noble balance of passion and control. And the new Naxos recording of the sonatas, by violinist Ilya Kaler and pianist Alexander Peskanov, goes right to the top of the pile. These are emphatically not sonatas for violin with piano accompaniment. At any given moment, the most important material is as likely to be presented by the piano as by the violin. These Russian musicians are a real partnership, trading the spotlight back and forth. This is warm, deeply felt music-making, Brahms' lines eloquently formed and propelled. The warm, true sonics are ideal."

Robert Stumpf
Classical Net

"This is, to put it simply and clearly, some of the most beautiful music ever written. The violin melody at the very opening of the first sonata is one of the most memorable pieces of music I have ever heard. I have lost count of the number of times I have spent an evening relaxing to this music, reading my book on the history of salt or the one on the future of the past. I even took the time to recommend it to people who want music to work by (perhaps in their cubes) rather than the MUZ-ack...These musicians seem to be listening to each other, making music and not just playing it."

MusicWeb International

"The Naxos story is indeed an extraordinary one. With a huge catalogue embracing both familiar and unfamiliar music, what Naxos offers us (whether we be serious collectors, or simply dipping our toes experimentally into uncharted waters) is hardly ever less than a thoroughly adequate recording and performance, and (increasingly often) a release which compares with the best, even in a hotly competitive arena... Here, [Ilya Kaler's] playing (as always) is impressively secure, ranging from the the restlessly passionate...Fellow Russian Alexander Peskanov is a discreet and sensitive accompanist who plays supportively, completely at one with his partner, and with all the poise and polish one could want... With recording as clean and as natural as any, this is an outstanding release. I give you my word that, if you put this disc on your shopping list, disappointment is unthinkable!"

Mark Lehman
The Absolute Sound

"These passionate, magisterial, gorgeously melodic sonatas are a pinnacle of Brahms' maturity. Right from the beginning they are indelible: Who can ever forget the warmly lilting tune that begins the First Sonata? (I remember exactly when and where I first heard it three decades ago.) They inspire Kaler and Peskanov, both absolute masters of their instruments, to such thoughtful , sweet toned, expressively nuanced playing, ideally balanced to bring out this music's subtle contrapuntal interplay, that it can only be described as exalted. Naxos' recording offers a studio rather than a recital hall perspective, but it never feels unduly close. Timbres are rich and natural, nicely focused with neither edge nor blurring. The result is wonderfully involving, and a perfect response to Brahms' famous injunction about how to play his music: "Play it however you like. But make it beautiful."

Naxos Records, a member of the Naxos Music Group