Bax's second violin sonata is one of the most nuanced, subtly inflected duos ever written, requiring everything from gutsy, sweeping gestures to ethereal harmonics, all couched in a richly chromatic idiom that pushed tonality in new directions. Those who know Bax's "November Woods" will recognize the close kinship of this sonata with the seminal orchestral work. Jackson has the measure of this music and plays it all with a stunning tonal palette, ably matched by Wass. Reproduced on a good system and with proper volume levels, there is nothing reticent in this bold performance.
By the time Bax began composing his Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in 1937, he had written six symphonies and numerous works for combinations of solo instruments and orchestra, only two of which, the Phantasy for Viola and Orchestra and the Cello Concerto, are actual concertos. (The pieces for piano and orchestra are more akin to Bax's tone poems than to genuine concertos.) Bax began the concerto in June 1937, finishing the short score in October. The piece was completed …….John Palmer @ Allmusic
This is an exceptional disc. Exceptional both for the music Johannes Brahms’ three violin sonatas contain some of his most lovely writing and the performance French violinist Augustin Dumay and Portuguese pianist Maria Pires project a strong interpretive vision. The interpretation is more lyrical and thoughtful than typical, with somewhat slow tempi generally. This is married to exquisite – and I mean, exquisite – technique from both Pires and Dumay as well as an outstanding sound engineering job from DG. The excellence of this CD is comprehensive.
Everybody will know by now that Elizabeth Wallfisch has a special interest, affection and regard for the 17th- and 18th-century Italian violin schools. She has already recorded much music by the likes of Tartini, Corelli, Locatelli and others with her group, The Locatelli Trio, and also with The Raglan Baroque Players under Nicholas Kraemer. Here is a varied and fascinating collection of pieces by some of the lesser-known composers from a generation or two earlier than those composers.
Three sonatas recorded by the young Yehudi Menuhin in happy times - particularly happy, as his younger sister Hephzibah is his pianist in all three. I'm not sure that he ever recorded the two beautiful Brahms sonatas again ; certainly not the Schumann, the quite unfamiliar second sonata. Its unfamiliarity is unmerited - Menuhin was bowled over by it when he came across it, and the performance is white hot, very committed though also fully under control.
There are two really famous Beethoven violin sonatas, the Kreutzer and the Spring. The Kreutzer Sonata inspired the story by Leo Tolstoy, which in turn became the subject of Janácek's First String Quartet, so if you're into comparative studies in the arts, there's a thesis topic for you! The Spring Sonata was featured in Woody Allen's Love and Death, among other places. And perhaps most intriguingly of all, the scherzo of the late sonata, Op. 96, turns up quite clearly in the third movement of Mahler's Second Symphony.
Fans of great violin playing naturally will want to hear this outstanding sampling of the art of the young Itzhak Perlman, most of which has never been released on CD. The violinist blasts through Paganini's Caprices Nos. 1, 16, and (of course) 24 with scrupulous technique and a total lack of inhibition. In the remaining works he's well partnered by pianist David Garvey, best known for his work with soprano Leontyne Price.