Magazine article Gramophone

Godard: Violin Sonatas-No 1, Op 1

Magazine article Gramophone

Godard: Violin Sonatas-No 1, Op 1

Article excerpt

Godard

Violin Sonatas-No 1, Op 1; No 2, Op 2; No 3, Op 9; No 4, Op 12

Nicolas Dautricourt vn Dana Ciocarlie pf

Aparte (M) (2) AP124 (88' * DDD)

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Benjamin Godard trained as a violinist before turning to composition. Though he soon expressed a marked preference as a performer for the viola, many of his early works were written for his original instrument, including four sonatas, composed between 1866 and 1872. As a set they are uneven, and modern taste, I suspect, may well overturn the judgement of his contemporaries, who preferred the Fourth to the other three.

Hearing them together you inevitably notice stylistic points in common: an operatic approach to slow movements, which sound like bel canto arias without words; a debt to Mendelssohn in scherzos or intermezzos; and an emphasis on expressive passagework rather than double-or triple-stopping at moments of climax or crisis. Yet the differences are also considerable. The first pair were completed contemporaneously in 1867, and the Second, taut yet passionate, with not a note wasted, reveals considerable advances over its companion, where the thematic material can be unremarkable and Godard's fondness for extended passages in octaves becomes a mannerism. …

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