Roland Batik / Volkhard Steude

Schumann: The Complete Violin Sonatas

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While many composers began their careers writing various forms of chamber music, the bulk of Robert Schumann's chamber works stem from the latter portion of his life. The two violin sonatas are a case in point; inspired by violin virtuoso Ferdinand David, they were both composed in a staggeringly short period of time. Unlike many of his works, the violin sonatas are relatively free of extramusical associations, making them somewhat akin to Brahms' three violin sonatas. The jacket of this Camerata album lists Violin Sonata No. 3, WoO. 2. This work in A minor is the F-A-E Sonata, for which Schumann originally composed the second and fourth movements, the first and third movements being composed by Albert Dietrich and Brahms, respectively. Schumann later added his own first movement and scherzo to produce the work now known as Sonata No. 3. Performing these three underappreciated sonatas is violinist Volkhard Steude and pianist Roland Batik. Both musicians put forth a solid, convincing interpretation of Schumann's works. Steude's playing is somewhat weighty and heavy at times, but for the most part his continued forward momentum and drive compensate. Steude and Batik balance each other nicely and engage in a pleasing dialogue throughout the album. Camerata's sound is clear and unadulterated, but the English translation of the liner notes is quite poor.

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