Strauss/Szymanowski/Seidler

Our rating 
3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

COMPOSERS: Strauss/Szymanowski/Seidler
LABELS: Azatlan
WORKS: Violin Sonata
PERFORMER: Patmore Lewis (violin)Rohan De Silva, John Nauman (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: AZ 5119
Although it’s not one of the particular early works which record companies are feverishly resurrecting, Richard Strauss’s early Violin Sonata is the very last of his backward-looking works (Don Juan was just around the corner). It really needs the kind of creative intensity Sophie Rolland and Marc-André Hamelin brought to the earlier Cello Sonata on ASV. Lewis and De Silva don’t quite offer that, but they do rise to greater heights than the middle-of-the-road opening promises. Among several massive, un-chamber-musical challenges, the finale’s wide-leaping melody, spanning two octaves and encompassing some fiendish violin arpeggios, is especially well met with flawless and unfussy musicianship.

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The rest of the recital is firstly unbalanced – if only because Lewis’s subtle handling of Szymanowski’s Fountain of Arethusa cries out to be followed by his other two Mythes, sadly absent – and secondly undernourishing; Alan Seidler’s Violin Sonata is unchallenging mainstream repertoire, well enough written but not much more. All we learn about Seidler here is that he was born in New York in 1951 – there are no notes on the music. If this disc deserves its unimaginative title (‘From the Soul’), then so do a thousand others. David Nice