EDUARD ERDMANN (1896-1958): Sonata for Solo Violin, Op. 12, HEINZ SCHUBERT (1908-1945): Phantasie for Solo Violin, EDMUND VON BORCK (1906-1944): Prelude for Solo Violin, Op. 11 (World Premiere Recordings), PAUL HINDEMITH (1895-1963): Sonata for Solo Violin, Op. 31/2, J.S. BACH (1685-1750): Solo Violin Sonata in A Minor, BWV 1003.

Catalogue Number: 08W040

Label: Gramola

Reference: 98006

Format: CD

Price: $18.98

Description: A formidable interpreter of the contemporary music of his time as pianist, Erdmann regarded composition as central to his life as a musician. His substantial Sonata bears this out; composed with meticulous attention to form and architecture, in a traditional overall scheme, it’s four movements are obviously indebted to the transitional Schoenberg, tonally free and "pan-tonal", not atonal and certainly not yet serial in any sense. The composer’s performance notes make much of the necessity of maintaining the continuity and melodic flow of the work. The first movement, for instance, is in four distinct sections which trace a palimpsest of sonata form, with the capricious nature of the second section dominating the mood of the ‘development' in combination with the serious, searching first 'subject'. A classically proportioned, sparkling, playful scherzo and flowing, melodic trio follows, which, were it not for its harmonic language, could inhabit the world of, say, Brahms! - a fascinating paradox. The lyrical, flowing slow movement breathes like one long, wistful exhalation, and the finale "with wit and spirit" is lively, high spirited and extroverted. A valuable addition to the catalogue, and a work of considerable musical merit, is the Phantasie by Heinz Schubert, a thus far insufficiently researched figure, it seems. He was hailed as one of the brightest talents of his time, and championed by Furtwängler; his career flourished under the Nazis, whom apparently he despised; however he died in battle as a member of the German army. Based on the limited number of works available to hear, he was indeed a fine composer, working in a Romantic, tonal idiom and producing music of substance and expressive power. The Phantasie is in two movements, Prelude and Toccata, and is very indebted to Bach; the Toccata is especially thrilling and technically formidable, reintroducing material from the Prelude at the end for an imposing finish that gives the work a satisfying cyclic form. Curiously, Borck's career arc, successes and early death on the battlefield followed a very similar trajectory to Schubert’s. His Prelude is noble, somber and tonal, though more harmonically adventurous than Schubert's. We don’t do comparative reviews here, but if your interest in this disc is primarily the Erdmann, you should be aware of a simultaneously released disc on the Genuin label by Judith Ingolfsson. [Footnote: we offered the Ingolfsson earlier this year!] Lucas Brunnert (violin).

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