One of the most grown-up review sites around

54,416 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider

new MWI
Current reviews

old MWI
pre-2023 reviews

paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Songs to Harp from
the Old and New World

all Nimbus reviews

all tudor reviews

Follow us on Twitter

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Chandos recordings
All Chandos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All APR reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount




CD: MDT AmazonUK AmazonUS
BIS Downloads available from

Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856)
Violin Sonatas
No.1 in A minor, Op.105 (1851) [17:37]
No.2 in D minor ‘Große Sonate’ Op.121 (1851) [14:16]
No.3 in A minor, WoO2 (1853) [20:52]
Ulf Wallin (violin); Roland Pöntinen (piano)
rec. July 2009, Nybrokajen 11, the former Academy of Music, Stockholm, Sweden (Sonata No. 1) and May/June 2010, Studio Gärtnerstraße, Berlin, Germany (Sonata Nos. 2 and 3)
Hybrid Disc (SACD Surround/SACD Stereo/CD Stereo)
BIS-SACD-1784 [74:06]

Experience Classicsonline

Robert Schumann’s three violin sonatas are tough works that mirror the composer’s physical problems and mental torments. I have been waiting for a recommendable recording of all three violin sonatas for a while and this release fits the bill splendidly.
In 1851 the forty-one year old Schumann, not long in post as musical director at Düsseldorf, wrote close together his Violin Sonata No.1 in A minor and Violin Sonata No.2 in D minor Große Sonate. This had been a productive time for Schumann as the previous year he had completed both the Cello Concerto and his final Symphony No. 3 in E flat major Rhenish with his four act opera Genoveva recently having received its première.
The Violin Sonata No. 1 in A minor proved to be a successful work. However, shortly after having completed the D minor Second Sonata Schumann expressed his discontent stating, “I didn’t like the First Violin Sonata, so I wrote a second, which I hope turned out better.” The windswept opening movement of the A minor is never able to settle. Wallin and Pöntinen convey sense of the torment of searching. Intimate, attractive and melodic, the Allegretto calms and soothes the most frayed of nerves. The scurrying Finale is rife with nervous anxiety and the players undercover a sense of melancholy hidden below the surface gloss.
The lengthy Violin Sonata No.2 followed close on the heels of the A minor. A distinctly weightier work than its predecessor, it was described by Clara Schumann as, “wonderfully original, and has a depth and magnificence that I find virtually unequalled - it is an overwhelming piece of music.” Wallin and Pöntinen assuredly convey a bitter-sweet quality to the opening movement cleverly designed so as to contrast tempi and mood. The lithe and sunnily entertaining Scherzo is light on its feet. Designed as a set of variations and based on the chorale melody Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ the slow movement is a masterpiece here played with captivating tenderness. The decisive and determined duo play the Finale with stirring virtuosity and vigour.
Schumann wrote two movements an Intermezzo and a Finale for the four movement F.A.E. Sonata a collaborative effort with fellow composers Brahms and Albert Dietrich. It was intended for its dedicatee, virtuoso violinist Joseph Joachim who was asked to guess who wrote each movement. Schumann took his two completed movements and wrote two additional ones to form his four movement Third Sonata in A minor. After Robert Schumann’s death in 1856 Clara Schumann withheld the score from publication. It was not until 1956 a hundred years after the composer’s death that it was published and publicly performed. I attend many recitals and can confirm the view of Ulf Wallin that Schumann’s violin sonatas are only very occasionally played - in particular the neglected Third Sonata. The opening movement contains squally music infused with episodes of relative calm. This is followed by the rapt tenderness of the Intermezzo so lovingly played by Wallin and Pöntinen. Sometimes placed second, the Scherzo: Lebhaft here feels volatile and engaging. I enjoyed the sprightly, spirited and often exhilarating Finale.
It’s pleasing to have all three Schumann sonatas on the same disc. Many alternative versions give us only the first two sonatas. Of those I have especially admired the expressive accounts from the starry pairing of Gidon Kremer and Martha Argerich. They were recorded in 1985 in Switzerland and issued on Deutsche Grammophon 419 235-2. I have yet to hear the set played by duo Carolin Widmann and Denes Varjon recorded again in Switzerland in 2007 (ECM New Series 2047).
Wallin and Pöntinen are players of the first rank and deserve to be known by a wider audience. Their performances here are fresh and vibrant with playing that feels natural and never forced. I was delighted by their wonderfully toned instruments with Wallin playing a violin by Venetian luthier Domenico Montagnana with a Grand Adam bow (1850) and Pöntinen a Steinway D Concert Grand. The detailed booklet notes are as excellent as I have come to expect from this source. On the front cover the painting Auf dem Segler (1818) by Caspar David Friedrich further adds to the overall appeal.
With highly impressive playing, sound and presentation it is hard to find fault with this excellent release.
Michael Cookson



















































































Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews


      Composer surveys
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site


Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Pat and present

Helpers invited!

How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips

Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.