Schumann: Violin Sonatas & Three Romances

Schumann: Violin Sonatas & Three Romances

Anthony Marwood (violin), Susan Tomes (piano)


Schumann told Wasielewski that he had composed his Violin Sonata in A minor at a time when he was 'very angry with certain people'. Whether or not that anger found its outlet in creative energy, he managed to complete the entire work within the space of less than a week. The Sonata is alone among Schumann's symphonically conceived chamber works in being cast in three movements, rather than four. The relative concision results from the fact that Schumann's middle movement takes a leaf out of Beethoven's book, and combines the functions of slow movement and scherzo. No less intensely passionate than the A minor Sonata is the Violin Sonata in D minor Op 121. Although Schumann eventually dedicated it to Ferdinand David, the violinist who had been so closely associated with Mendelssohn and the Leipzig Gewandhaus (it was for David that Mendelssohn composed his famous Violin Concerto), the piece was first performed by Joseph Joachim and Clara Schumann in 1853. Towards the end of that year Joachim wrote enthusiastically to his friend Arnold Wehner, Director of music at Göttingen: 'I consider it one of the finest compositions of our times in respect of its marvellous unity of feeling and its thematic significance. It overflows with noble passion, almost harsh and bitter in expression, and the last movement reminds one of the sea with its glorious waves of sound.'

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