Franco Mezzena violin
Elena Ballario piano
César Franck’s Violin Sonata in A is his most celebrated work, a perfect example of cyclical form resulting in music of ardour and spirit, the two protagonists engaged in a lively and exhilarating dialogue that culminates in a thrilling finale. Franck had promised a violin sonata to Cosima Wagner, but it was Eugène Ysaÿe’s request for a wedding piece that finally galvanised him to compose the work.
Debussy’s Violin Sonata was his last complete composition, written in the shadow of the First World War. The work reflects some of the internal tussle the composer was experiencing during the conflict, but with his characteristic fluidity and nuanced harmonies. Debussy said of the work: “Through a quite humane contradiction, it is full of a joyous tumult.”
Florent Schmitt was a French composer who absorbed Germanic influences to create a rich and passionate vocabulary. His music has seen a revival in recent years, and his Four Pieces for Violin and Piano encompass a lyrical ‘Lied’, brooding ‘Nocturne’, sunny ‘Sérénade’ and remarkably dramatic ‘Barcarolle’.