Of Edvard Grieg’s seventy-four published works, only five are for chamber music, and no less than three of these are Violin Sonatas. His favourite instrument was the piano, but the influence of Norwegian violinist and composer Ole Bull (1810-1880), patron of young Edvard’s career, was enormous. Grieg confessed to considering the Violin Sonatas among his best works, each representing a different phase in his development: ‘the first a little naive, but rich in ideas, the second Nordic, and the third with a broader horizon’, he wrote to his friend Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson.
At the end of 1868, Grieg received a very cordial letter from Franz Liszt, in which he spoke appreciatively about the first Violin Sonata and, in early 1870, the two managed to meet in Rome. The old Master took the scores that Grieg had brought with him, and chose the second Sonata for Violin and Piano in G major, reading both the piano and violin parts entirely at first sight, with an absolutely sure sense of all expressive intentions and nuances. The astonished Grieg only had to listen to the final artistic benediction: ‘Keep it up, I say, you have what it takes, and don’t be discouraged’. The joyous Second Sonata was composed in 1867 during the honeymoon of his marriage to his cousin Nina Hagerup. Immediately one senses how much the Norwegian folk manner had become a natural part of his musical vocabulary. Despite the mournful Lento doloroso beginning, the score explodes into an unexpected and exuberant G major, with Springar-like rhythms and Hardingfele-like figurations. The moving opening theme then seems to return, alternating with the previous vivid themes, as the music flows into a magnificent coda. The quiet, contemplative second movement seems to recreate the absolute silence Grieg required when composing.
Only two years passed between the first two Sonatas, but it took another twenty before the Third saw the light of day, composed in Grieg’s large new house in Troldhaugen, not far from Bergen. The lyrical enthusiasm of the earlier Sonatas is distant, the ‘broader horizon’ consists of the maturity of his own idiom beyond national inflections, and strong elements of mystery and conflict now become central themes. The first performance of the Third Sonata, with Grieg himself at the Piano and the celebrated Adolph Brodsky at the Violin, took place at the Leipzig Gewandhaus on 10 December 1887 and immediately became a favourite of violinists the world over.
Salvatore Accardo – Violin
Stefania Redaelli – Piano
Total time: 01:19:34
|Original Recording Format|
|Release Date||November 4, 2022|
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