Schumann: Violin Sonatas / Christian Tetzlaff, Lars Vogt
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SCHUMANN Violin Sonatas Nos. 1–3 • Christian Tetzlaff (vn); Lars Vogt (pn) • ONDINE 1205–2 (70:13)
This robust, energetic recording of the three Schumann sonatas follows the duo’s recording of Mozart sonatas, a recording that was honored both by Gramophone and by the BBC Music Magazine . In my collection, it joins the 2006 Schumann recording by Jennifer Koh and the recording of the first two sonatas by Gidon Kremer with Martha Argerich. It’s regrettable, but understandable, that Kremer and Argerich didn’t record the Third Sonata alongside the more favored first two. The Third Sonata was hidden from view for most of a century. It was Clara Schumann who not only expressed her disapproval of the Third Sonata, but suppressed it; it was published only in 1956.
What is odd about that is that she adored the first two sonatas. Schumann composed the first in five days in 1851. In her diary, Clara wrote that she couldn’t wait to play it: “I could not rest, I had to try Robert’s new sonata at once. We played it and felt especially moved by the very elegiac first movement and the lovely second movement.” She proclaimed the second “wonderfully original, with a depth and magnificence that I have hardly ever heard before.” Clara found the Second Sonata overwhelming. The Third Sonata was different: Schumann famously decided that he, Brahms, and Albert Dietrich should all write movements to present to the violinist Joseph Joachim. Only later did Schumann finish the piece. It’s still considered problematic. From its harsh opening on, it’s a temperamental work that sounds, according to this duo, easier to play than it is.
Tetzlaff and Vogt sound fully committed to Schumann’s lyricism, and occasional eccentricity. They play passionately, and with attention to the composer’s sometimes fleeting moods. They make as much out of the often whimsical sounding twists and turns of the music as does anyone. Tetzlaff has a full, rich, impassioned tone, and Vogt is equally forthright. Not everyone is a fan of the later Schumann compositions; I am ambivalent. But certainly they deserve the respectful, skilled, and musical performances we hear on this disc.
FANFARE: Michael Ullman
Catalog Number: ODE 1205-2
Composer: Robert Schumann
Performer: Christian Tetzlaff, Lars Vogt