Magazine article Gramophone

Schumann's Violin Sonatas: Three Past Recordings of the Sonatas for Violin and Piano, and How Gramophone Rated Them

Magazine article Gramophone

Schumann's Violin Sonatas: Three Past Recordings of the Sonatas for Violin and Piano, and How Gramophone Rated Them

Article excerpt

MAY 1966

Schumann Violin Sonatas Nos 1 & 2

Christian Ferras vn

Pierre Barbizet pf

DG [??] SLPM138998 (12in * 32s 3d)

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

The two violin sonatas have never been concert-hall favourites, partly, no doubt, because one distrusts three-figure opus numbers in Schumann (too close to his mental breakdown?), but more especially because the nature of their writing poses certain problems for the performers. The First, Mendelssohnian in its opening theme but in nothing else, is a masterpiece of subtly elliptical thinking; the Second, more striking in its originality, shows that feeling for large-scale design which marks the Rhenish Symphony of the same year. Ferras's espressivo is more appropriate to Saint-Saens than Schumann: it is gentle, elegant and just a little off-hand. But there remains much to admire. The recording quality is excellent. More important, this is the only currently available version of Schumann's violin works. If the performance is not always ideal, it is never less than highly distinguished. Julian Budden

JANUARY 1987

Schumann Violin Sonatas Nos 1 & 2

Gidon Kremer vn Martha Argerich pf

DG [F] 419 235-2GH (49' * DDD)

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

The name of Martha Argerich on any label always means fire, and so it is here. …

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