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Every day we post 10 new Classical CD and DVD reviews. A free weekly summary is available by e-mail. MusicWeb is not a subscription site. To keep it free please purchase discs through our links.

  Classical Editor Rob Barnett    


Wilhelm FURTWÄNGLER (1886-1954)
Violin Sonata in D major No. 2 (1938) [44.55]
Interview with Hans Müller-Kray (in German) [7.19]
Alexis Galpérine (violin)
François Kerdoncuff (piano)
rec. Salle Adyar, Paris 8/9 June 1989
TIMPANI 1C1001 [52.14]
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Furtwängler is now viewed by the world first and foremost as a conductor. His compositions only have a presence because he is one of history's great conductors. They get attention as a spin-off from the Furtwängler industry which is mostly about recordings.

The two violin sonatas are products of the 1930s; 1935 and 1938 to be precise. These were testing and sometimes fatal times for musicians. Furtwängler always saw himself as a composer first and it was his tragedy as well as his blessing that conducting put the bread and butter on the table. The blessing was material but also artistic in that he was able to include performances of his own works in the concerts of the Berlin Phil and other orchestras. He gave his Second Symphony several times. After his death very few others took up the challenge. Daniel Barenboim and Zubin Mehta are exceptions. They performed the Symphonic-Concerto for piano and orchestra during the 1970s.

The Second Sonata bursts with symphonic intent. It is a passionate work deep in the romantic melos and turbulent in the two outer movements (there are three in total). The protesting and stormily aspirational lines are rooted in Brahms but there are other liberating voices too. Marx (his hour long Violin Sonata), Pfitzner and Reger wrote along similar lines and tempestuous French influences are also felt (Vierne and Franck). Galpérine, who studied with Francescatti, Szeryng and Accardo, shows more of the qualities of the last two than of the shattering intensity of Francescatti. This is best appreciated in the big central lento.

There is competition for this disc in the shape of a Bayer CD. I have not heard it nor have I seen reviews.

Good notes and a 1954 interview with Furtwängler in which the conductor speaks about his compositional activity to a fellow conductor.

Rob Barnett


 



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