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Violin Sonata No 2 in F sharp minor, Op 11
1918; re-written in 1957 as Weiner's Violin Concerto No 2, Op 45

'Weiner: Violin Sonatas' (CDA67735)
Weiner: Violin Sonatas
Buy by post £10.50 CDA67735 
Movement 1: Allegro
Movement 2: Presto
Movement 3: Larghetto
Movement 4: Rubato: Moderato – Ziemlich rasch, scharf rhythmisiert

Violin Sonata No 2 in F sharp minor, Op 11
Weiner composed his Violin Sonata No 2 in F sharp minor Op 11 in 1918, directly after the music for Csongor és Tünde, and regarded it as one of his most important works. In fact nearly forty years later, in 1957, he returned to it and composed a new version for violin and orchestra as his Violin Concerto No 2 Op 45—which proved to be his last composition. (Weiner seems to have gone in for arrangement and transcription a good deal: the Pastoral, Fantasy and Fugue for string orchestra was realized from his Third String Quartet, while the beautifully nostalgic Romance for cello, harp and strings is a 1949 arrangement of a piece for cello and piano from thirty years earlier.)

Like the first sonata, Sonata No 2 has four movements, but is planned on a larger scale, as is evident from the first bars of the opening Allegro, in which the violin unfolds a long bittersweet first subject somewhat reminiscent of the sonata of César Franck. (Weiner’s chamber and orchestral works often testify to his sympathy for French music.) As this sonata-form movement unfolds, however, a passionate Hungarian strain is also evident. It comes, however, to a serenely lyrical end, the violin having a rather plaintive last word. The ensuing short Presto scherzo is by contrast almost Mendelssohnian in its lightness and flashing wit, the violin and piano swapping phrases with antiphonal abandon. A more authentically Hungarian tone is heard in the romantic Larghetto slow movement, where the violin spins its nostalgic song against measured descending chords on the piano. The finale opens with a rhapsodic introduction (Rubato) which freely recalls first the music of the scherzo, then the first movement in impassioned recitative, then finally the third movement, sweeping into a cadenza-like pyrotechnic display for violin unaccompanied. This issues in the steady marching tread of a rondo-like Ziemlich rasch—an extended and highly inventive movement marked by passionate dialogue between the two instruments, and an occasional sardonic, almost Mahlerian shaft of wit, that brings this fine sonata to a good-humoured but essentially serious close.

from notes by Calum MacDonald © 2009

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Details for CDA67735 track 7
Recording date
3 June 2008
Recording venue
Jerusalem Music Centre, Israel
Recording producer
Eric Wen
Recording engineer
Zvi Hirshler
Hyperion usage
  1. Weiner: Violin Sonatas (CDA67735)
    Disc 1 Track 7
    Release date: July 2009
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