Music for Violin, Vol. 2: Rondo brillant, D895; Sonata in D, D384; Sonata in A minor, D385; Grand Duo in A, D574
Ariadne Daskalakis (violin), Paolo Giacometti (fortepiano)
BIS BIS-2373 (CD/SACD) 70:32 mins
Most of Schubert’s music for piano and violin dates from his earlier years, and it was probably intended for him to play with his violinist elder brother, Ferdinand. But towards the end of his short life Schubert composed two pieces – a Rondo brillant in B minor and a large-scale Fantasy in C major – which were aimed at professional virtuosos. They were written, in fact, for the Bohemian violinist Josef Slavík, once described by Chopin as ‘a second Paganini’, and the pianist Karl Maria von Bocklet, for whom Schubert composed a big piano sonata in D major in the same year of 1826. The B minor Rondo is a fine piece, with a dramatic slow introduction whose music comes back in a transfigured form during the course of the exuberant gipsy-style rondo itself.
The first of the early sonatas is a relatively modest piece which reflects Schubert’s love of Mozart. More characteristic and ambitious are the melancholy Second Sonata in A minor, and the warmly lyrical Duo in A major D574, which has one of the most beautiful beginnings among all Schubert’s youthful compositions. Ariadne Daskalakis and Paolo Giacometti, playing on original instruments, give attractive performances of all three sonatas, and they negotiate the considerable difficulties of the late Rondo with admirable skill.
The recording places the violin just a shade too close, so the piano is occasionally in danger of being overshadowed, but it’s not a serious reservation in a disc that gives a good deal of pleasure.