Linus Roth

Schumann: Sonatas for Violin and Piano, Op. 105 & 121

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The two violin sonatas of Robert Schumann both stem from 1851, late in the composer's life and amidst a time of personal and psychological turmoil. Like other works of this period, the violin sonatas are filled with poignant emotions: angst, longing, melancholy. Despite their depth and profundity, relatively few violinists have made recordings of the works, and they appear on recital programs far less frequently than sonatas by Schumann's contemporaries. This Challenge Classics album features violinist Linus Roth and pianist José Gallardo; though both young musicians, the duo had been playing together for nearly a decade by the time of this recording. The proof of such a long-standing collaboration is immediately clear; the dialogue between violin and piano, an intrinsically important feature in Schumann's sonatas, is entirely natural and seamless. Balance between the instruments is marvelous, fluidly allowing the melody to rise to the surface regardless of instrument or register. Roth's playing is deeply satisfying, with a rich, warm tone in the lower registers and a clear, crisp, but not-too-bright sound high on the E string. The breadth of emotions written into the score is effortlessly translated by Roth and Gallardo, from the mesmerizingly simple beauty of Second Sonata's third movement to the fiery menacing of the First Sonata Finale. The disc also includes three Schumann songs, tastefully transcribed by Roth and Gallardo, and a fourth arranged by Joseph Joachim. As in the sonatas, the songs showcase the abundant technical gifts and musical insight that Roth and Gallardo have to offer.

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