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  Classical Editor Rob Barnett    




Robert FUCHS (1847-1927)
Complete Violin Sonatas Vol. 1

Violin Sonata No. 1 in F sharp minor Op. 20 (1877) [26.38]
Violin Sonata No. 4 in E major Op. 77 (1905) [19.59]
Violin Sonata No. 5 in A major Op. 95 (1912) [24.26]
Ursula Maria Berg (violin)
Oliver Treindl (piano)
rec NDR Landesfunkhaus Hannover, Kleiner Sendesaal, 27-28 July, 7-8 Oct 2002. DDD
THOROFON CTH2511 [71.11]


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The Styrian-born Fuchs was associated with the Brahms fraternity in Vienna. His name might well be familiar as the teacher of Ernst Decsey, Sibelius, Korngold, Zemlinsky, Schreker and Wolf. His music has tended to fall into the deep background. Given the virtues of these sonatas this is a pity.

There are six violin sonatas in all. The last was written in 1919 to a world torn asunder from the Viennese contentment in which he had immersed himself from his early manhood. The 1877 First Sonata is a contented Brahmsian essay of surprising and emotional reach. An ambitiously lyrical allegro moderato leads to a silvery songful andante sostenuto which makes way for a jog-trot allegro con fuoco. While I greatly enjoyed the polished febrile edginess of Berg's violin I wondered if the finale should have gone with more spleen. The 'song' continues unabated in the similarly three movement Fourth Sonata. This took me back to the singing violin sonatas of Othmar Schoeck (on Guild). Fuchs can be quite fastidious and elegant as in the finale of Op. 95. Strangely enough Fuchs several times had me thinking of Saint-Saëns and Stanford both in Op. 77 and Op. 95. Treindl's piano is warmly recorded and a justly agreeable balance is struck with Berg's violin. This is music impelled by the urge to sing. Fuchs was not the sort of revolutionary we find in Nielsen (e.g. his piano pieces). Instead he had a genius apt to a language long established by Brahms and then Schumann.

The programme notes are helpful if too taken up with technical musical description.

Fuchs, though living well into the last century, had his roots struck deep into the mulch of nineteenth century German romanticism. I hope that we can hear more of his freshly envisioned music from Thorofon both in volume 2 of this series and in the orchestral music (two discs from Thorofon).

This disc is most beautifully done. I am intent on hearing more Fuchs as soon as I can.

Rob Barnett



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