What's the connection between the violin sonatas of César Franck (Belgian), Othmar Schoeck and Melchior Ulrich (both Swiss), Turkish-born violinist Betül Soykan, and Japanese-born pianist Rié Aikawa? Other than the music being composed within roughly 50 years of one another, there's actually very little binding these things together. While an eclectic program can certainly be a thrill for listeners, there's usually some hint as to why, of all the available literature, a particular set of sonatas are chosen for an album. In this case, the liner notes are so poorly translated that it's at times virtually impossible to figure out what they're trying to say at all.
Soykan and Aikawa open with the Franck A major Sonata, one of the cornerstones of the violin sonata repertoire. Soykan playing is a bit safe and predictable, with nothing new really being said in her interpretation. Intonation is reliable, but far from flawless. Lacking in sufficient depth and clarity, the piano's sound quality is more questionable. The sonatas of Schoeck and Melchior Ulrich, both infrequently heard despite enjoyable, charismatic nature, push Soykan's technique further than the Franck, and blemishes in sound quality and intonation are more frequent. Coupled with the subpar sound quality from the piano, this album is likely best reserved for those just looking for exposure to new repertoire and not for those looking for a definitive recording of the Franck.