Jeroen de Groot


Review Pure Live III

May 12, 2023

Music by Pärt, Brahms and Beethoven Jeroen de Groot (violin), Bernd Brackman (piano) (Zefir Records)
Recensie door Graham Rickson, UK

Beginning a live recital with Arvo Pärt’s Fratres is a little mischievous, violinist Jeroen de Groot’s reading full of poise and cool beauty. He and pianist Bernd Brackman do really ratchet up the tension midway through, the playing scarily intense, but the cooling off is mesmeric. Pärt’s spareness makes Brahms’s Sonata No. 3 all the more powerful, a piece which starts similarly quietly but hints at its scope and size before a minute has elapsed. De Groot and Bernd are alert to the music’s warmth as well as its weight; the first movement’s second subject is sweetly phrased, and de Groot’s hushed playing at the start of the “Adagio” is perfectly pitched. Bernd’s soft flurries of notes at the start of the scherzo are immaculate, and the passage in the finale where the music seems to dissolve into space is heart-stopping.
Beethoven’s Kreutzer Sonata makes for an epic second half. De Groot and Brackman’s slow introduction lulls us into a false sense of calm, before the first movement’s glowering “Presto” erupts into life. The coda is desolate, making the central movement’s serene sequence of variations both disconcerting and welcoming. Stops are duly pulled out in the closing tarantella, de Groot and Brackman brilliantly coordinated, relishing every twist and turn before an exultant finish where it’s difficult not to join in with the audience applause. Taped in November 2021 in the Zeeuwse Concertzaal in the south-western Netherlands, the recorded sound has bloom and immediacy.