One does it, of course - thoughtlessly, carelessly - but it is a serious mistake to call Brahms' Sonata in D minor, op. 108, a "violin sonata." It is, most emphatically, a sonata for violin and piano, one whose violin part taxes the technical and perceptive powers of a Stern or a Szeryng, but with a piano part worthy of a Rubenstein or a Richter.
Saturday night in the Kennedy Center, with violionist Eugene Fodor accompanied by pianist Judith Olson, it was a violin sonata with occasional comments by the piano, and it was music that could barely keep me awake. One had the feeling that Fodor did not find it interesting as music; but it was on the program because at least one piece with some substance was required, and that he felt more at home in the second half when he got to a series of short, light pieces that might be used for an encore by other violinists.
These were tossed off with a phenomenal if not quite impeccable technique; some of the notes were seriously off pitch, but his double-stops were superb and his left-hand pizzicato the most spectacular I have ever seen. It was more like high-grade gymnastics than music, but it was very warmly applauded