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Ferdinand Ries: Three Sonatas for Violn and Piano / Eric Grossman, violin; Susan Kagan, piano

Album Summary

>Ries, Ferdinand : Sonata for violin & piano in F major, Op. 8/1
>Ries, Ferdinand : Sonata for violin & piano in C minor, Op. 8/2
>Ries, Ferdinand : Grande Sonata for violin & piano in F minor, Op. 19
Performers Composer

Notes & Reviews:

Ferdinand Ries was Beethoven's student, close friend and biographer. He was a gifted and prolific composer whose works, like those of many other composers of his time, were largely overshadowed by Beethoven's presence. Ries's music was widely known and admired in his lifetime, and his 18 Violin Sonatas are models of the Viennese Classical style established by Mozart. The pastoral character of the first Sonata, Op. 8 is enlivened through the unusual appearance of a fugue, while the second of the pair features a lovely, serene Adagio cantabile. The large-scale drama of the Grande Sonata, Op. 19 links it to Beethoven's Appassionata.

American Record Guide, July/August 2015
These are fine works by a very skilled composer who is only a notch below his exemplars. Ries wrote 18 violin sonatas, and I would be interested to hear the later ones. Eric Grossman and Susan Kagan play this music very well and are well recorded.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Oktaven Audio, Yonkers, New York, USA (04/02/2013-04/03/2013).



Reviews

Charming works from a Beethoven student and friend, sweetly performed
This disc features three sonatas for violin and piano written by Ferdinand Ries, a friend, student, and associate of Beethoven’s, who actually took violin and viola lessons from Beethoven (according to the brief, but informative liner notes). The three sonatas are in the Viennese style and are wonderfully performed by Eric Grossman (violin) and Susan Kagan (piano).

The first sonata, “Sonata in F, Op. 8, No. 1”, consists of four movements, the first a warm and pleasing musical conversation between the two soloists, the second a jaunty scherzo, while the third is a very brief larghetto that leads into the closing movement that features a delightful fugue. This is a simply a finely textured happy little piece. Loved it!

The second sonata, “Sonata in C minor, Op. 2, No. 2”, is strongly Beethovenian in character, opening with a strong decisive theme that rollicks and firmly grows in sections as the movement proceeds. The second movement is peaceful and sweet, which sets us up very well indeed for the Allegro scherzando third movement, in that it starts with some directed staccato rhythms that reappear throughout but we still feel fresh and engaged thanks to that second movement interlude. This is a well composed and constructed piece of music.

The third sonata, “Grande Sonata in F minor, Op. 19”, opens with a heartfelt Largo espressivo that makes you sit up and pay attention, but quickly gives way to an Allegro agitato that has some darker, more driven characteristics. The Andante second movement is simply flat out gorgeous and expressive, while the third movement returns to the driven state of being present in the first movement until it closes in a burst of pianistic energy with the sound of the violin fading away.

The sound quality of this CD is excellent, capturing the nuances of each note played by the performers, while at the same time imparting the desired warmth of this sort of chamber music. This recording is a fine example of some of the better works created during Beethoven’s time that were perhaps known to the music loving public then, but that are so greatly overshadowed by the works of the Masters during that period. These pieces were a new discovery for me, and a pleasing one. Strongly recommended.

Submitted on 05/04/15 by KlingonOpera 
Between Mozart and Beethoven
Ferdinand Ries was many things to Beethoven; student, assistant, copyist, colleague, champion. He was also a virtuoso pianist who went on to have a successful career both as a performer and as a composer.

Reis' 18 sonatas for violin and piano were mostly composed between 1807-1809, while he was living in Paris. And perhaps for that reason, the three sonatas in this recording seem to have more in common with Mozart than Beethoven.

The sonatas are all models of classical restraint, with a refined elegance that eschews showiness. I didn't hear any of the bravura demands that Beethoven puts on his performers, but that didn't make these works any less enjoyable. I suspect Ries was writing for his French audience, and that audience preferred restraint.

The Sonata in F, Op. 8 No. 1 has a Mozartian charm to it. Simple elements are artfully arranged to keep the listener charmed throughout the work. By contrast, Ries' Sonata in C minor, Op. 8 No. 2 is much more forceful and dramatic. In it, I could hear the influence of Beethoven, although Reis never quite approaches the fury of his teacher.

The liner notes try to connect the Grande Sonata in F minor, Op. 19 to Beethoven's "Appassionata" sonata, but I think that does a disservice to the former. Both are in three movements, and both were written around the same time, but Reis's work lacks the inner fire of Beethoven's sonata.

Taken on its own terms, though, I found the Grande Sonata quite interesting. Its themes are more fully developed than those of the Op. 8 sonatas, and the music sound more substantial, with more inherent emotional weight.

Ries may not be on par with Beethoven, but his music is well-constructed and inventive. I found it both pleasing and enjoyable to listen to. If you lean more towards Mozart than Beethoven, you may find it so as well.
Submitted on 08/25/15 by RGraves321 
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Works Details

>Ries, Ferdinand : Sonata for violin & piano in F major, Op. 8/1
  • Performers: Eric Grossman (Violin); Susan Kagan (Piano)
  • Notes: Oktaven Audio, Yonkers, New York, USA (04/02/2013-04/03/2013)
  • Running Time: 29 min. 5 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic

>Ries, Ferdinand : Sonata for violin & piano in C minor, Op. 8/2
  • Performers: Eric Grossman (Violin); Susan Kagan (Piano)
  • Notes: Oktaven Audio, Yonkers, New York, USA (04/02/2013-04/03/2013)
  • Running Time: 26 min. 25 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic

>Ries, Ferdinand : Grande Sonata for violin & piano in F minor, Op. 19
  • Performers: Eric Grossman (Violin); Susan Kagan (Piano)
  • Notes: Oktaven Audio, Yonkers, New York, USA (04/02/2013-04/03/2013)
  • Running Time: 20 min. 47 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic