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Order number B 108 085
Violin sonatas, anno 1886
Violin sonatas, anno 1886


Price EUR 15,50

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César Franck (1822-1890)
Sonata for Piano and Violin in A Major

Edvard Grieg (1843-1907) 
Sonata for Piano and Violin in C Minor,
op. 45

Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)
Sonata for Piano and Violin in D Minor,
op. 108

Markus Wolf, violin
Julian Riem, piano

Recorded at Reitstadel in Neumarkt, March 2014

(German, English)
· texts
· biographies

Three masterpieces from around 1886

In the summer of 1886, Johannes Brahms began work on composing his third violin sonata; its first performance took place in 1888 with Brahms himself at the piano and Jenö Hubay on the violin. Brahms dedicated this sonata, tinged with Magyar melancholy, to his friend, the pianist and conductor Hans von Bülow, and the piano indeed plays a major role throughout almost the entire work.
Norwegian national folklore pervades Edvard Grieg's third violin sonata. Begun in 1885, it was given its final form two years later and was premièred in 1887 in Leipzig by the Russian violin virtuoso Adolph Brodsky and Grieg at the piano. The sonata is dedicated to Franz von Lenbach in return for two portraits he made of Nina and Edvard Grieg.
César Franck's sole violin sonata was composed in 1886, a virtuoso work full of passion, subtlety and harmonic and melodic inspiration. It is dedicated to one of the most famous violinists of the time, Eugène Ysaÿe, and was presented to him for his wedding in September 1886.

Three fascinating, high Romantic jewels that have become an indispensable part of the violin repertoire. On this recording, particular care has been taken to come as close as possible to the sound and emotional expression of the time during which they were written. Instead of modern instruments, a historical Bechstein grand piano from 1862 and the Vollrath Stradivarius from 1722, played with a bow by Jean Pierre Marie Persoit from c. 1820, were used.

The characteristics of the historical piano mechanism, the different gauge of the strings and the lack of the steel frame used in modern instruments confront the pianist in particular with great challenges. But all of this leads to a completely different sound and allows surprising new insights into the compositions.

The highly romantic approach of Markus Wolf on the violin rounds off the unique and innovative character of this recording.
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"... The artistry in these performances is absolutely top flight. In fact, they are good enough that this can be your only recording of these works. I’ve been listening to this while writing this review, and my delight in and amazement at the musicianship only increase from track to track. It’s so good that I have taken much longer than I probably could have to write this; I keep stopping to admire the almost peerless ensemble. I also keep going back to make my adjectives more superlative. If I don’t stop writing soon, I’m going to start sounding ridiculous.

Very few other duos are this good, and most big-name partnerships, past and present, pale next to this one. I only hope that I will not have to wait another seven years to hear another recording from them. If you love this music, this is a mandatory acquisition. It’s worth its weight in gold."
American Record Guide, Joseph Magil, 5/18/2015