Christian Tetzlaff

César Franck’s Sonata for Violin and Piano in A major

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The French composer Charles Tournemire commented on César Franck’s Sonata for Violin and Piano in A major: “In reality, this sonata begins with the second movement” – it is only this movement that corresponds to the sonata form promised by the work’s title. Tournemire saw in this a parallel to Beethoven’s Piano Sonata in A major, op. 101, the first movement of which also sounds like a prologue. More significant than this deviation from the usual formal model in Franck's Sonata is the fact that the four individual movements are closely linked in terms of motifs. All the essential musical figures are derived from the pastoral opening theme of the first movement. While the musical expression of the third movement seems to oscillate between dream and reality, in the bright and transparent finale the tuneful main theme is confronted with motifs and themes from the previous movements. This popular and frequently performed work concludes with a magnificent climax; the premiere on December 31, 1887 in Brussels was played by one of the great virtuosos of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the Belgian violinist Eugène Ysaÿe. Franck had offered him the Sonata as his wedding present.

Photo that shows Christian Tetzlaff Dsc 8351 C Georgia Bertazzi.

Program

César Franck
Sonata for Violin and Piano in A major
I. Allegretto ben moderato
II. Allegretto
III. Recitativo – Fantasia Ben moderato – Molto lento
IV. Allegretto poco mosso

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