Favorite Violin Sonatas

November 23, 2017, 3:05 PM · I was just wondering what sonatas you people like. I know that this topic is very broad, but I just want to maybe hear some new great sonatas I haven't heard of before.

Replies (29)

Edited: November 23, 2017, 6:37 PM · I like the Franck, Debussy, Beethoven, Grieg, Bloch, and Mozart. The Franck is the one I can listen to over and over and over. I just love it so much. I mentioned Bloch because I really love Aaron Rosand's recital performance (Chicago 1970) which is just one of the most wonderful albums of violin music that I've ever heard. Any violinist who attended that recital would have been totally blown away.

Here is a useful list:

Edited: November 23, 2017, 8:58 PM · Brahms , particularly the 2nd sonata.
Dvorak 4 romantic pieces (not in sonata form but beautiful)
And of course the Bach sonatas; there are 6 that usually get performed but there are a number
of other ones , transcriptions, that are marvellous as well.
November 23, 2017, 8:57 PM · Faure op. 13
Prokofiev no. 2 in D Major
November 23, 2017, 9:02 PM · Saint-Saen's Violin Sonata 1 is a favorite.
November 23, 2017, 11:17 PM · Prokofiev 1st is badly underrated.
When you get the spirit of the piece, this sonata is an absolute jewel.
The morbid heaviness of the 1st movement.
The mechanical power of the 2nd, and the Romeo-and-Juliet-istic wonderful and heart swelling quality of that second theme.
The festive joy of the 4th.
And that 3rd movement must be one of the most beautiful things ever written!
November 23, 2017, 11:56 PM · Ravel No 2 in G Major.
November 24, 2017, 8:54 AM · Szymanowski, Strauss, Beethoven #10, Beethoven #7 (all of them are great, but those are very inspiring), Fauré A minor, Brahms G Major. The Szymanowski should be performed more often-it's quite musically interesting, and has some magical moments.
November 24, 2017, 9:13 AM · Don't forget any of Brahms's sonatas, or Dvorak's. All underplayed in my view.

I've not played any Mozart violin sonatas, but nor have I ever been impressed by them (even with Anne-Sophie Mutter playing) - there isn't enough musical meat to them imv.

November 24, 2017, 11:52 AM · Here's a recording of Faure op. 13 by one of my teachers, Josef Gingold and pianist György Sebok. This was a live performance. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fmWG8Zgg1OQ
Edited: November 24, 2017, 1:13 PM · Josef Gingold is of course a wonderful violinist and pedagogue, but for the Fauré I prefer Dumay’s interpretation with Collard, which has an exquisite Franco-Belgian elegance.
November 24, 2017, 2:01 PM · All those, plus Poulenc and Janacek played by Joseph Suk .
Edited: November 24, 2017, 2:17 PM · I like Arthur Grumiaux (Which I believe is also with Sebok). There is a cd with him playing Faure 1 & 2 (which is highly underrated and there is a great version by Ferras), Lekeu (which is beautiful and cyclical like the Franck), Franck and Ravel. It is one of my favs.

Chris, for the Mozart, there is a really great version of them by Szeryng and Ingrid Haebler. 5 straight hours on Youtube. It took a minute for them to sink in, but try playing them, and I bet they will get right under your skin.

The Szymanowski has a nice version by Oistrakh, but I really like a version posted on youtube by Patrycja Piekutowska and Beata Bilinska (who are new names to me).

I really like both Kogan and Hirschorn's Prokofiev 1 and Oistrakh and Labko in both 1 and 2.

Midori has both the best Saint-Saens 1 and Poulenc that I've heard, and they are both on the same cd. The Poulenc is up there with the Faure for my fav, but the first movement can sound a little baggy the way a lot of violinists play it (a little too stately).

November 24, 2017, 2:18 PM · Are you asking about playing or listening? I find that I am able to enjoy listening to sonatas that I will never be able do justice playing....
November 24, 2017, 6:43 PM · Both playing and listening.
November 24, 2017, 8:06 PM · The aforementioned masters cannot be ignored for the Szymanowski, but I also wanted to suggest: https://www.amazon.com/LIVE-AT-LOUVRE-SAYAKA-SHOJI/dp/B00005Q7P8
from a few years back. Very emotive playing combined with high artistry, and very convincing.
November 24, 2017, 8:58 PM · My favorite has to be the Franck. The first movement is something else.
November 25, 2017, 1:20 AM · Christian, the Poulenc is a personal favorite. I have listened to most recordings out there, and I gotta say, if you haven’t yet, you definitely should check out Frank-Peter Zimmerman’s version on YouTube. GOAT to me.
November 25, 2017, 9:38 AM · Here's a link to the Dohnanyi sonata op. 21 of which I am very fond. It is rarely played. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_SsP2cdLU5A
November 25, 2017, 4:06 PM · I'm very fond of Shostakovich Op. 134.
Gideon Kramer's orchestrated version is an absolute gem.
November 27, 2017, 1:21 AM · No novelties here.....
Beethoven Op12 no 3 (E flat), and Op96
Brahms 1 and 2
Dvorak sonata in F major
Prompted by comments in this thread I've been listening to the Franck sonata and enjoying it - ashamed to admit that I don't know it well.
Bach (with keyboard) - the F minor sonata. (There's an amazing Oistrakh recording - the first movement used to be on Youtube - very profound stuff)
December 1, 2017, 10:25 AM · I've just started working on Enescu's 2nd Sonata in f minor and the more I work on it the more I love it. So great how he develops his themes and the harmonies he uses are fantastic. I really enjoy playing a Sonata written by a violinist.
December 1, 2017, 1:52 PM · Enescu 1st sonata as well... and Shostakovich op. 134. Of the latter, Hadelich's performance of the orchestrated version, found on youtube, is phenomenal...
December 1, 2017, 2:25 PM · Both of Tartini's violin sonatas (Didone Abbandonata and The Devil's Trill Sonata), the Prokofiev F minor, and the Beethoven Kreutzer Sonata are my top choices for listening.
I heard Hilary Hahn perform the Kreutzer Sonata with Robert Levin this past spring, and it was the most beautiful playing I'd ever heard.
December 3, 2017, 5:55 PM · Haven't noticed anyone mention Schumann's. I really enjoy all three, for me ranked in their numerical order. I also like the Schubert sonatinas, even more than his sonata.
Edited: December 6, 2017, 12:48 PM · Roman, I listened to the FPZ Poulenc. He gets it right as far as I'm concerned. If you haven't heard the Midori, it's a very similar take. I slightly prefer her sound and phrasing in slower parts, but I'm glad to hear others taking a similar approach.

Adalberto, I listened to the movements I could find of Shoji. I haven't found anything of hers that hasn't been really thoughtfully done and with really beautiful sound. She doesn't disappoint in the Szymanowski. She also has a really great recording of the 1st concerto on youtube.

John, I like the Schumann as well - I find that they are not simple to do right. I heard Kavakos play the 2nd with Yuja Wang a few years ago, and it sounded a little inert in his rendition (Wang completely won me over in that recital and Kavakos was surprisingly disappointing). I like Ferras' rendition of the Schumann.

December 6, 2017, 6:19 PM · To add to Roman's praise of Prokofiev's Sonata No. 1 in F minor, the 32nd note con sord. pp passages, which Prokofiev was said to have described as "wind passing through a graveyard", to me, are like a chill up the spine, but deeper. What a wonderful effect from something written so simply -- like a scale study.

The first and third movements were played at Prokofiev's funeral by David Oistrakh and Samuil Feinberg -- leaving you, I suppose, wanting for more.

December 6, 2017, 8:19 PM · For me it has to be Franck Sonata A major, especially the 4th movement. I listened to that 4th movement nearly everyday, when sitting on a train to work, for more than one year.
Edited: December 7, 2017, 3:05 AM · Beethoven G major nr 10; Mozart too many to mention; Schumann D minor; Brahms second and third. The Brahms 2nd is one of those works that's wholly about the beautiful sonorities of the instrument.

Special mention for Max Reger's C major op 139. A magnificent work that I couldn't play in a million years, if only because of the many highly exposed passages. However I wish performing artists would program it sometimes, because this great work never ever gets aired outside Germany.

December 7, 2017, 6:08 PM · The Ysaÿe sonatas are fun to listen to because they sometimes sound like what the Bach partitas would have sounded like, had Bach been born in the 19th century and was addicted to crack cocaine.

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