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Hyperion Records

Click cover art to view larger version
Prague by William Wyld (1806-1889)
Reproduced by permission of the Victoria and Albert Museum. Crown Copyright / Bridgeman Art Library, London
Track(s) taken from CDH55365
Recording details: April 1997
St George's, Brandon Hill, United Kingdom
Produced by Andrew Keener
Engineered by Tony Faulkner
Release date: February 1998
Total duration: 22 minutes 59 seconds

'This delectable Hyperion release enshrines music-making of sensitivity and eloquence' (Gramophone)

'Yet another unimpeachable release from the Hyperion stable' (Classic CD)

Sonata in F major, Op 57
March 1880; B106

Poco sostenuto  [6'25]
Allegro molto  [5'22]

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Some thirteen years before Dvorák wrote the Sonatina in G major, he composed the three-movement Sonata in F major for the same combination. It was written in a matter of only two weeks in March 1880, shortly before he embarked on a revision of his Violin Concerto. Before the Sonata was published, Dvorák played it through with the famous violinist Joseph Joachim who, it seems from a letter which the composer wrote to his friend Alois Göbl, ‘liked it a lot’.

Doubtless, Joachim’s positive response to the work was in part conditioned by certain clear affinities with the music of his friend Brahms. While Dvorák does not surrender his musical personality to the influence of his great German contemporary, there are times when he seems to be paying homage, most particularly in the manner in which the first movement ‘feels its way’ into the argument, and in the falling phrases at the start of the attractive Poco sostenuto. Apart from these lyrical aspects, a certain Brahmsian athleticism is apparent in the development of ideas.

But much else, in what is one of the composer’s gentlest works, is wholly Dvorákian, notably the cut of the second main melody of the first movement and the ‘Slavonic’ character of the finale—unsurprising, perhaps, since the first set of Slavonic Dances had been written only two years before. These elements are, on the whole, projected with far less virtuosity than in the Violin Concerto and the heaven-storming Mazurek composed the year before. Indeed, the prevalent mood in the sonata is one of lyrical expansion carried through with Dvorák’s customary generosity.

from notes by Jan Smaczny © 1998

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