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
As Andrew Manze remarks in the liner note for this album, the sonata was perhaps "but a toy theatre in Handel's world of architectural splendours." Indeed, the eight sonatas, with the addition of two independent movements, provide an insight into a world far removed from the imposing, monumental Handelian works known to many listeners. But these works are by no means a lesser manifestation of the composer's genius.
The late 18th century was a transcription-heavy time, and it would seem that the substitution of a flute for the violin in Mozart's sonatas for violin and piano would be the most natural thing in the world. Yet it doesn't quite work out that way in this release by French flutist Patrick Gallois and Bulgarian pianist Maria Prinz. The music makes a perfectly pleasant impression; Gallois comes from a long line of French players whose tone alone is probably worth the purchase price, and he's got a lovely way with Mozart's melodies.
Vadim Repin suggests in the booklet’s notes that he and Nikolai Lugansky chose a program for their first studio recording together that mimics a recital in this case, that would be a sonata recital. This sonata the introductory passage, Lento doloroso , of Edvard Grieg’s Second Sonata displays in the duo’s performance a haunting poignancy that their energetic reading of the movement proper hardly dispels.
Is this what Gallic Brahms sounds like? Well, violinist Renaud Capuçon is French-born and French-trained, and pianist Nicholas Angelich, while America-born, is French-trained, but does this make them French musicians rather than musicians who are French? Possibly: Capuçon has the lean, lyrical tone that has been the specialty of French violinists since Louis Capet and Angelich has the lush, lucid tone that has been the specialty of French pianists since Walter Gieseking.