Admired for his craftsmanship and artistic integrity, Roger Sessions was one of the leading American modernist composers in the mid-20th century, though his influence was most strongly felt in academic circles. This 2015 Bridge release of works for violin and piano provides an excellent introduction to Sessions that focuses on his transitional period in the 1940s, when he gradually adopted serialism into his musical style. Violinist David Bowlin and pianist David Holzman emphasize the intense emotional expressions of the music, which are easily overlooked in theoretical discussions, and their passionate and moody playing shows how Sessions' works can be quite affecting, despite their reputation for difficulty. While this album is of immediate interest to students of his work, adventurous listeners should try out the Second Sonata for the bracing performance, and the Sonata for violin for a concentrated display of Sessions' lyricism and motivic invention.
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AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
|Sonata for Violin|