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Schumann's third and final sonata is an offshoot of the curious four-movement F-A-E Sonata (1853) written as a tribute to Joseph Joachim by three composers (Schumann, his pupil Albert Dietrich, and twenty-year-old Johannes Brahms). The title F-A-E is Dietrich's motto: Frei aber einsam ('Free but lonely').

Dietrich's opening 'Allegro' is all but forgotten, the Brahms F-A-E 'Scherzo' is part and parcel of today's violin repertoire, while Schumann's 'Intermezzo' and 'Finale' were incorporated into his third A minor sonata; suppressed (by Clara Schumann ?) and unpublished until 1956, a century after its first rare performance and Schumann's death.

In fact this complex and compelling work is powerfully crafted throughout; how fortunate with music so unaccountably neglected to have two truly magnificent musicians -- Koh and Uchida -- bringing their entire recital to such arresting life.

Ms Koh says 'Schumann's music has compelled me ... for as long as I can remember ... it is the most human with its viscerally haunting, obsessive, tender and vulnerable extremes. One can connect a lifetime of experiences -- birth, love, hate, death -- into every phrase of his music.' [listen -- track 10, 2:10-3:01]

Copyright © 22 October 2007 Howard Smith, Masterton, New Zealand


Schumann: The Sonatas for Violin and Piano

CDR 90000 095 DDD Stereo FIRST RELEASE 66'39" 2006 Cedille Records

Jennifer Koh, violin; Reiko Uchida, piano

Robert Schumann: Sonata No 1 in A minor Op 105 (1851) (Mit leidenschaftlichem Ausdruck; Allegretto; Lebhaft); Sonata No 2 in D minor Op 121 (1851) (Ziemlich langsam - Lebhaft; Sehr lebhaft; Leise, einfach; Bewegt); Sonata No 3 in A minor WoO 27 (1853) (Ziemlich langsam - (Lebhaft); Scherzo: Lebhaft; Intermezzo; Finale)




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