Faure: Violin Sonata No. 1; Violin Sonata No. 2

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COMPOSERS: Faure
LABELS: Hyperion Helios
WORKS: Violin Sonata No. 1; Violin Sonata No. 2
PERFORMER: Krysia Osostowicz (violin)Susan Tomes (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: CDH 55030 Reissue (1987)
Four decades separate Faure’s two violin sonatas. Dating from 1875, the First Sonata is by far the more popular work, displaying the young composer’s originality. His ability to be simultaneously vibrant and leisurely is apparent from the expansive opening theme, while the empty virtuosity of so many contemporaneous works is stoutly resisted. Krysia Osostowicz and Susan Tomes are wonderful advocates of its blend of emotional unpredictability and lyrical charm. Indeed, it seems churlish to wish for greater sensuality from Osostowicz in the Andante, and a touch more sparkle from the piano in the finale.

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There are absolutely no caveats about their handling of the rarefied world of the Second Sonata. A work of brooding intensity, it was written in 1916, after Faure had become deaf and while his son was on active service. Always taut, it is hard to imagine a more idiomatic or impassioned performance of this underrated masterpiece. Christopher Dingle