Recorded on 03/01/2005, uploaded on 01/22/2009
Musician's or Publisher's Notes
Camille Saint-Saëns composed on two sonatas for the violin during his long career. The first of these, the Sonata No. 1 in D minor, appeared in 1885 during what is considered the composer’s best period, witnessing the production of The Carnival of the Animals (which regretfully would not attain public adoration until after the composer’s death) and the Symphony No. 3. Assuming its place alongside these other masterworks, it has become a staple of the violin repertoire, outshining its companion piece, the Second Sonata in E-flat major which appeared a little more than a decade later in 1896.
Perhaps the reason for the First Violin Sonata’s success is its effective channeling of a Beethovenian energy—a heroic struggle indicative of that past composer which Saint-Saëns himself greatly admired. Indeed, even the selection of key by Saint-Saëns hearkens back to Beethoven, although not the stormy C minor of his Fifth Symphony, but instead the epic struggle in D minor of his Ninth. Furthermore, the scale of the sonata’s movements is modeled on the grand fashion of Beethoven’s music and augmented even further by the Romantic addition of a fourth movement.
The sonata’s dramatic first movement opens with a turbulent theme, initially piano but growing in fervor until reaching a passionate forte, announced by soloist and accompanist. Twice stated, the first theme leads through A-flat major into the lyrical second theme in F major, which soars atop an accompaniment of broken chords. Without break and following seamlessly from a transitional passage built out of the second theme the Adagio second movement begins with an expressive melody in the violin. Quite different from the prior movement, the Adagio is heartwarming and sentimental, particularly in its central episode.
Though not so marked, the third movement is a lighthearted and jocular scherzo in G minor. The character of the movement is perhaps somewhat reminiscent of Mendelssohn, whose music Saint-Saëns also admired. Despite returning to the minor key, the movement has none of the dramatics of the opening sonata form. In contrast, the trio section features a briefly lyrical tune accompanied by an overhanging motif from the scherzo. This tune, however, returns to form the transition into the finale. An energetic movement in D major, the finale calls on the virtuosity of both performers to create a thrilling and jubilant conclusion to the sonata. JosephDuBose
Allegro agitato; Adagio; Allegretto moderato; Allegro molto
Camille Saint-Saens, also a French composer, wrote two violin sonatas, the first of which is more well-known. In comparison with Debussy, Saint-Saëns' sonata is much more conventional; its four-movement form is more common, and the techniques it requires of the performers are more normal. The sonata is very beautiful and full of charm, and it is one of the most successful of Saint-Saëns' works.
The feeling of the first movement, Allegro agitato, is explained clearly in its title- agitated. The piece begins with both instruments playing in unison quietly, but the character is anything but calm; it is in fact very sweeping and hectic. The climax of the movement occurs after a short but brilliantly-written fugue, and later goes into the second movement without pause. The theme of this next movement, marked Adagio, is a surprisingly simple but beautiful melody introduced first by the piano and then repeated by the violin. The key word for the short third movement, Allegretto moderato, is charm, and the last movement, Allegro molto, is full of virtuosity. This movement is technically demanding for both the violin and piano. The piece ends after a long unison passage between the two instruments, a section that builds up so much tension that the music literally explodes into an even faster tempo and eventually a triumphant D Major cadence that concludes the work. Shana Douglas
Courtesy of International Music Foundation.
Love this performance. It has personality galore. Bravo!!!!
This performance may be a little too polite. Perhaps it's just a matter of taste? I like things with bite and an edge - a la Ivry Gitlis.
We at classicalconnect.com believe that classical music is a necessity of life. It is our pleasure to be your virtual concert hall and bring you this performance.
Copyright 2008-2010 Classical Connect, LLC