Violin Sonata (c.1895?) [11:21] CÚsar FRANCK (1822-1890)
Violin Sonata in A major (1886) [29:12] Gerald FINZI (1901-1956) Elegy (1940) [8:10] Lucijan Marija ŠKERJANC (1900-1973) Intermezzo romantique (1934) [6:20]
Lana Trotovšek (violin)
Maria Canyigueral (piano)
rec. April 2015, Casa de Cultura de Girona, Spain HEDONE RECORDS HCD16001 [55:21]
The Granados Violin Sonata was written for Jacques Thibaud, though precisely when is subject to some doubt. It wasn’t published until 1971, and then as a single-movement torso. The notes to this suggest that two other movements have more recently been found but the position is, as I understand it, that this was intended to be a four-movement work and the last two exist in an incomplete state. Perhaps when the extant material is published in full some clarity will result. There has been a recording of the fuller version but most of the few recordings that exist simply perform the complete first movement, which has the merit of being a satisfying entity in itself. Lana Trotovšek plays lyrically, reserving some hoarser tone for those moments when the writing turns declamatory.
A decision on whether to take this disc further will depend on couplings. The world is not waiting for another recording of the Franck sonata, a work also closely associated with Thibaud, but this one employs some piquant slides, one or two of which are rather ungainly, and feel applied rather than felt. There’s a certain unconvincing rhythmic instability in the second movement, which is gutsily played, if somewhat elastically so, and some intonation issues in the finale.
Gerald Finzi’s Elegy makes a strange partner for Granados and Franck, not least because it’s one of his baroque-evoking inspirations but its intense apex is well controlled here, even if Daniel Hope plays it with more focused conviction. Finally, there is Lucijan Marija Škerjanc’s Intermezzo romantique. Slovenian, like the disc’s violinist, Škerjanc’s compact work is at its best in its arresting old school warmth. The opening rather strenuous paragraphs sound less compelling.
The booklet is helpful and has useful material about the works and performers, with photographs, though there’s a weird approach to font size and page spacing. There are better programmed discs with the Granados out there and I can’t imagine anyone who likes Finzi wanting this. Recording the Škerjanc is a good move, though it is only six minutes long.