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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDA67220
Recording details: June 2000
Henry Wood Hall, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Antony Howell & Julian Millard
Release date: October 2001
Total duration: 34 minutes 20 seconds

'These are sumptuously responsive performances, glowingly recorded and expertly annotated' (International Record Review)

'Fine, colourful and lyrical playing by Graffin, who contrasts effectively passages of serious intensity with moments of lighter character and repose' (The Strad)

'[Walter’s] sonata, tackled with relish by Graffin, from the turbulent first two movements to the resolution of the third. Goldmark’s suite is a delightful set of pieces (you will be smitten with the playful middle section). Full marks to Hyperion' (Classic FM Magazine)

'Philippe Graffin brings some Menuhin-like touches to his playing' (ClassicalSource.com)

Sonata for Piano and Violin
composer

Andante serioso  [13'08]
Moderato  [9'18]

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
That ‘piano-and-violin sonata’ – interesting that Walter should bill the piano first, as was conventional when the violin sonatas of both Beethoven and Brahms were published – was first performed on 9 March 1909. The style suggests that Walter may have been familiar not only with the Brahms violin sonatas (hardly surprisingly), but that he may already have come across the music of the then nine-year-old Wunderkind, Erich Wolfgang Korngold. He certainly knew Erich’s critic father, Julius, who had regularly dismissed Walter’s compositions in the Neue Freie Presse; and in 1908, according to Julius Sternberg, a fellow Viennese critic, Walter moved into a flat in the Theobaldgasse, downstairs from the Korngolds, where he could hear the young Erich indulging his imagination at the piano.

The expansive first movement of Walter’s Violin Sonata, marked Allegro con espressione begins in a confident A major but its complicated motivic development – based on a knocking shape that looks and sounds rather like a retrograde inversion of Beethoven’s ‘fate’ motif from the Fifth Symphony – soon begins to manifest considerable tonal instability as it modulates through C, A flat, F sharp minor, C sharp major, D minor, E flat major and F sharp minor, sometimes for only the briefest of moments, before eventually settling on A major. The Andante serioso second movement, which sets out in F sharp minor, threads the three-note tail of the knocking figure through an argument that shows only slightly more tonal stability than the first movement: G major, F sharp minor, B flat major, A major, D major, falling back into an uneasy F sharp minor. The Moderato finale sets out in A minor, which manages to withstand the efforts of a dropping figure to de-stabilise it and thus opens out into a passage marked calmo, in the relative major, C. But it doesn’t stay calmo for long, in mood or tonality, swinging through A flat major and E major before returning to A minor with the indication of Tempo primo. Warmer keys predominate for the rest of the movement – G major, E major, B major – until the music sinks into an E minor coda, which returns to A minor for its closing bars.

from notes by Martin Anderson © 2001

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