Christiane Edinger / James Tocco

Eduard Franck: The Sonatas for Violin & Piano

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Eduard Franck: The Sonatas for Violin & Piano Review

by Mike D. Brownell

The works of composer Eduard Franck (not to be confused with the much more influential César Franck) are among the countless compositions that have failed to make it into the classical canon. Despite being a protégé of Felix Mendelssohn and having a rather prolific and successful career within his lifetime, Franck's is only now starting to reappear on concert stages. Violinist Christiane Edinger is almost single-handedly responsible for the revival of his chamber music. This album features the four sonatas for violin and piano. Among Edinger's arguments for the importance of these works is the dearth of other violin sonatas written after Beethoven and Schubert and before Brahms. However, a mere lack of anything better does not necessarily qualify Franck's sonatas for star status. In fact, his sonatas are well-composed and lyrically pleasing, but in general do not rise much above the level of being merely charming. Franck's tonal language and formal treatment are clearly locked in the past, as are his unimaginative technical demands for the violin. Edinger and pianist James Tocco do all they can to help Franck along. Edinger's sound is brilliant and shimmering, offering a pleasing balance between her tone and the sometimes thickly scored piano. Dialogue between the two musicians is strong, giving listeners a good sense of a true chamber music collaboration. Those looking to expand a large library of violin sonatas will certainly welcome a new addition, but anyone seeking truly magnificent composition for this instrumentation may be slightly disappointed.

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