Disc review: Schumann’s 'Three Sonatas for Violin and Piano' - The Buffalo News
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Disc review: Schumann’s 'Three Sonatas for Violin and Piano'

The title of this disc actually reads “Two Three Sonatas for Violin and Piano” with the “two” crossed out.

Most people think Schumann wrote just two sonatas. The third is a kind of hybrid. He finished it near the end of his life, shortly before he went into the mental asylum, and it incorporated two movements he had written for a collaborative sonata, a tribute to violinist Joseph Joachim that also included movements by Brahms and Albert Dietrich. (Dietrich, now forgotten, is lucky to find himself in such company.)

The Violin Sonata No. 1 is the best-known, and it’s divine, but it’s my guess that these other two, with repeated hearings, will equal it. The slow movements are enchanting and the other movements, shot through with that overcharged Schumann imagination, also keep your attention every step of the way.

Jennifer Frautschi and John Blacklow make a good team. She played the Sibelius Violin Concerto with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra a few years ago, and News Critic Emeritus Herman Trotter praised her for “dazzling technique and stunning power.” Blacklow helps her shine. I like how Albany Records is exploring this under-explored music.

Robert Schumann

"Three Sonatas for Violin and Piano" performed by Jennifer Frautschi, violin; John Blacklow, piano (Albany)

3.5 stars

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