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Schumann: Violin Sonatas / Carolin Widmann, Dénes Várjon

Album Summary

>Schumann, Robert : Sonata for Violin and Piano no 1 in A minor, Op. 105
>Schumann, Robert : Sonata for Violin and Piano no 3 in A minor, WoO 27
>Schumann, Robert : Sonata for Violin and Piano no 2 in D minor, Op. 121
Performers Composer

Notes & Reviews:

Two extraordinary young musicians, both of them respected soloists and committed chamber music players, make their ECM debut with a gripping rendering of Schumann's three violin sonatas. These musicians have been playing together since 2004 and share a passion for the demanding style of Robert Schumann (1810-1856) from the last period of his life.

Gramophone Classical Music Guide
Schumann's violin-and-piano sonatas have never become favourite staples of the repertoire.

Full textures, with the violin mainly confined to its middle and lower registers, often continue uninterrupted for many bars, and a somewhat grey, monotonous effect can be compounded by the composer's obsessive repetition of certain rhythms and motifs. But is this a fair description? You wouldn't think so after hearing Carolin Widmann and Dénes Várjon; their imaginative, wide-ranging variations of tone colour unlock the music's romantic, atmospheric potential, and their command of genuine rubato - passionate, unimpeded forward motion followed by lingering backward glances - gives the sonatas an expressive flexibility that's surely authentic.

'With sorrowful expression', writes Schumann at the start of the First Sonata, and the surges of painful emotion in this performance, while sounding quite spontaneous, are rigorously based on the printed expression marks. Similarly, the gripping account of the Second Sonata's slow introduction starts from meticulous observance of Schumann's dynamics, slurs and staccatos, adding to this an entirely convincing rhythmic freedom. The opening page of this sonata's third movement, which creates a remote, almost chilling effect, isn't quite so convincing.

Back in 1952, George Enescu, playing with Celiny Chailley-Richez (Opus Kura), gen- tly arpeggiated his plucked chords and, on taking up the bow, found a beautifully intimate, confiding tone - this mood may well be closer to what Schumann intended. Overall, however, Várjon and Widmann are entirely persuasive. Whether or not you know the music well, you'll be enthralled and delighted.

BBC Music Magazine
Riveting performances from Carolin Widmann and Dénes Várjon. In their skilled hands the nervous pulsating of the First Sonata's opening phrases is resolved in a magical glow of C major... that momentarily resolves the underlying despair of the music which surrounds it. ...in the glorious D minor Second Sonata. Widmann's beguiling subtlety of phrasing, tonal colour and dynamic shading proves a revelation. She lives through each and every note, weaving a spellbinding emotional narrative that captivates throughout. Indisputably, one of the all-time great Schumann recordings.

Gramophone Magazine
Carolin Widmann and Dénes Várjon's imaginative wide-ranging variations of tone colour unlock the music's romantic, atmospheric potential, and their command of genuine rubato - passionate, unimpeded forward motion followed by lingering backward glances - gives the sonatas an expressive flexibility that's surely authentic.

The Guardian
These constantly sharp-witted performances with Denes Varjon are now among the best available on disc...Every bar in both of [the first two sonatas] seems freshly moulded in their performances, as if Schumann had rolled back the years to the surging lyricism of two decades before.



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Works Details

>Schumann, Robert : Sonata for Violin and Piano no 1 in A minor, Op. 105
  • Performers: Dénes Várjon (Piano); Carolin Widmann (Violin)
  • Running Time: 17 min. 2 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Form: Christmas
  • Written: 1851

>Schumann, Robert : Sonata for Violin and Piano no 3 in A minor, WoO 27
  • Performers: Dénes Várjon (Piano); Carolin Widmann (Violin)
  • Running Time: 20 min. 22 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1853

>Schumann, Robert : Sonata for Violin and Piano no 2 in D minor, Op. 121
  • Performers: Dénes Várjon (Piano); Carolin Widmann (Violin)
  • Running Time: 33 min. 12 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1851