Notes and Editorial Reviews
The three sonatas on this recording were written at the behest of violinist Cho-Liang Lin, who worked closely with each composer at their premiere performance. Paul Schoenfeld’s Violin Sonata references literary influences and the composer’s past as well as his Jewish heritage in the work’s final Freilach or ‘joyous dance.’ Steven Stucky acknowledged Debussy as the source of inspiration in his work, while the alchemy of John Harbison’s style creates music that is simultaneously abstract and narrative. Wryly introduced as “crazy modern music,” Bernstein’s brief Canon for Aaron was composed for Copland’s 70th birthday celebrations.
All apart from Stucky’s Sonata, these are World Premiere Recordings, the disc having the benefit of Jon Kimura Parker’s piano accompaniment in a superb sound quality.
Paul Schoenfeld stylistically visits most of the past two centuries in his four-movement sonata from 2009. There is modern dance, jazz, and gypsy music assembled to give a musical kaleidoscope, and a finale that embraces Jewish life with a joyous Freilach. After a mournful opening violin statement, Steven Stucky's Violin Sonata is deeply situated in the 21st century, his version of atonality taking precedent over melodic invention. He returns to former times in a tender interlude, and a virtuoso scherzo becomes the finale. John Harbison's brief first Violin Sonata is essentially abstract in content and harmonically from the 21st century in a readily enjoyable style. As an encore we have Bernstein’s 1970 Canon for Aaron written as part of Copland’s 70th birthday celebrations.
– David's Review Corner (David Denton)