Charles Wetherbee / David Korevaar

Juon: Violin Sonatas Nos. 1-3

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This Naxos release qualifies as a real find, for the music of Paul Juon has rarely been recorded. Juon was Swiss and Russian in background, born in Moscow, and he was sometimes called the Russian Brahms. That's audible in the Violin Sonata No. 1 in A major, Op. 7, of 1898, which with its vigorous finale, is placed at the end. However, the other two sonatas are something else again, and they really sound neither Russian, nor German, nor even French. The Violin Sonata No. 2 in F major, Op. 69, perhaps suggests what might have happened if Sibelius had written more chamber music than he did. Its violin lines are angular and often chromatic in unexpected ways. The Violin Sonata in B minor, Op. 86, published in 1930, is unique in its fantastical quality, suggesting a gentle variety of expressionism. Violinist Charles Wetherbee and pianist David Korevaar deserve credit for unearthing this obscure and unusual music. Their performances are straightforward, and if someone else later comes along with edgier ones, those will not have happened without the present album. This is an important release in the field of 20th century chamber music.

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