Notes and Editorial Reviews
These performances are absolutely stunning, so much so that a reappraisal of Schumann's Violin sonatas is in order. What once sounded like pre-Brahmsian music (as presented by Ara Malikian and Serouj Kradjian on Hänssler Classic), with its harmonic exploration and varied moods, is here revealed as the full-bodied passion of Schumann at his most impetuous. (It's interesting to note that these two women--violinist Isabelle Faust and pianist Silke Avenhaus--come up with far more aggressive and masculine interpretations than do the two men on the Hänssler disc.)
From the urgent opening of Sonata No. 1, Faust mounts the music as if it were a wild stallion, riding out the
first movement's emotional twists and turns with a sure grip on its technical challenges. Avenhaus is right there with her, riding side saddle, making the two a formidable team. Faust pulls back slightly for Schumann's big, overtly symphonic Sonata No. 2, especially in the dreamy adagio where she achieves a particularly beautiful tone quality. But it's back to flame throwing for the No. 3 (a work that went unpublished until 1956), making for a powerful conclusion to the program. CPO's sound is more compact than Hänssler's (with its large hall acoustic), an effect that brings the duo vividly into your listening room. If you're at all curious about Schumann's violin sonatas (and you should be), this disc demands your investigation.
--Victor Carr Jr, ClassicsToday.com Read less
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