Sonata No 2 has only four movements, but they show a comparable variety. In the first, a brief slow introduction prefaces a strong and muscular movement which is largely an exercise in impressive multiple-stopping and wide-leaping intervals. This is followed by ‘Variations on a Rhythmic Idea’, a brilliant study in aggressive machine rhythms. Its gestossene Achtel
(pounding quavers) are directed to be played fortissimo throughout, and the sense of unstoppable motion is enhanced by a generous use of sectional repeats. In the third variation a pair of quiet double-stopped thirds mysteriously interrupts the proceedings, and these are made the basis of the movement’s unexpected final cadence. The deeply expressive slow third movement takes up the materials of the first movement and transforms them in lyrical melodic vein before receding to the violin’s lowest G. As in Sonata No 1 the finale is a fugue, marked Sehr wild und roh im Vortrag
(very wild and rough in performance). It is also ferociously difficult, adding an obsessive use of dissonant intervals to its rhythmic complexities, and proves an exhilaratingly diabolic end to a remarkable work.
from notes by Calum MacDonald © 2007