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Track(s) taken from CDA67833

Sonata for violin and piano No 2, WV91

November 1927; first performed by Schulhoff and violinist Richard Zika in Geneva on 7 April 1929

Tanja Becker-Bender (violin), Markus Becker (piano)
Recording details: April 2010
Beethovensaal, Hannover, Germany
Produced by Ludger Böckenhoff
Engineered by Ludger Böckenhoff
Release date: February 2011
Total duration: 15 minutes 12 seconds

Cover artwork: The Broken Key (1938) by Paul Klee (1879-1940)
Sprengel Museum, Hannover / Bridgeman Art Library, London


'Tanja Becker-Bender can muster both impressively full tone and a not inappropriate astringent edge. No mean virtuoso, her previous release for Hyperion was an acclaimed set of Paganini Caprices and it helps that the company provides a helpful booklet-note that does not over-egg the contextual pudding … worth a punt' (Gramophone)

'The young German violinist Tanja Becker-Bender offers absolutely stunning playing throughout this warmly recorded disc. She makes light work of the formidable technical challenges … her exemplary partnership with Markus Becker recaps equally enthralling musical rewards … the Suite is projected with great charm and elegance. Perhaps most impressive of all is their performance of the Second Sonata. Here Becker-Bender and Becker face competition from the highly rated recording by Gidon Kremer and Oleg Maisenberg on Warner. Yet this new version fizzes with an even greater degree of propulsion and exuberance … altogether this is an outstanding release that can be confidently recommended' (BBC Music Magazine)

'There is some challenging music here for both players and it receives performances of the highest quality, as though this music were at the very centre of the standard repertoire instead of well beyond its fringes. Tanja Becker-Bender's tonal palette is wide, not shying away in the least from the occasional heathly dig into the strings; she seems totally at home with the material and certainly has an edge in power and musical range over the relatively lithe approach of her predecessor Ivan Zenatý for Supraphon' (International Record Review)

'The performances are first rate. Tanja Becker-Bender is the assertive, often spectacular violinist. Pianist Markus Becker does fine things with accompaniments that can sometimes seem ungrateful and predominantly supportive' (The Guardian)

'Tanja Becker-Bender has no problem negotiating her way through this stylistic plurality. She indulges to charming effect the playfulness of the early suite, where shades of Korngold intertwine with the sinuousness of early Schoenberg … it's a measure of her responsiveness to the varying demands of the music that she can alter her sound so well to what is required of her at any one point … Markus Becker is a supportive duo partner throughout and the recording of both players is well balanced' (The Strad)
The Sonata No 2 for violin and piano WV91 was composed in November 1927, right after the Esquisses de jazz (which includes a Charleston, Tango and Black Bottom). But it’s not jazz that is the strongest influence here but the music of Béla Bartók, which Schulhoff greatly admired. However, Schulhoff’s mature language is quite distinctive, and in this piece he makes use of some cleverly devised motivic organization that unifies the whole sonata. The first movement opens with an energetic, rhythmical violin theme which generates further ideas as the movement progresses—the contrasting second theme has some of the same rhythmic fingerprints, and the results are cohesive and compelling. But Schulhoff takes things further: the short Andante begins with slow, tolling, piano chords, but the violin starts with the same rhythmic motif as the first movement—two accented semiquavers followed by a long note—and this idea pervades the whole sonata. Indeed, the third movement Burlesca opens with the self-same rhythm, albeit in a very different context. At the start of the finale, Schulhoff reprises the opening of the first movement before moving in new directions that are propulsive and exciting. At the very end, it is the same group of three notes that drives the music to its close, marked molto feroce. Though it works well as a means of providing formal coherence, this little rhythmic cell is one that is to be found all over Schulhoff’s music of this period: the Double Concerto and Piano Sonata No 3, both written in the same year as the Violin Sonata No 2, have movements that make use of the same rhythmic motif. It was clearly a musical gesture that obsessed the composer at the time. The first performance of the Second Violin Sonata was given in Geneva on 7 April 1929 with violinist Richard Zika and Schulhoff himself at the piano.

from notes by Nigel Simeone © 2011

La Sonate no 2 pour violon et piano WV91 fut rédigée en novembre 1927, juste après les Esquisses de jazz (qui comprennent un charleston, un tango et un black-bottom). Mais elle n’est pas tant influencée par le jazz que par la musique de Béla Bartók, que Schulhoff admirait énormément. Toutefois Schulhoff, dont le langage de la maturité est des plus distinctifs, emploie ici une organisation motivique habilement conçue, qui unifie toute la sonate. Le premier mouvement s’ouvre sur un thème violonistique énergique, rythmique, qui engendre de nouvelles idées à mesure que le mouvement progresse—le second thème contrastif en reprend ainsi certaines empreintes rythmiques, pour des résultats cohérents, convaincants. Schulhoff va même plus loin: le court Andante démarre sur de lents accords pianistiques, façon glas, tandis que le violon part sur le même motif rythmique que le premier mouvement—deux doubles croches accentuées, suivies d’une valeur longue—, et cette idée imprègne toute la sonate. Le troisième mouvement Burlesca s’ouvre, ainsi, sur exactement le même rythme, quoique dans un tout autre contexte. Au début du finale, Schulhoff reprend l’ouverture du premier mouvement avant d’aller vers de nouvelles directions propulsives et palpitantes. À la toute fin, c’est le même groupe de trois notes qui pousse la musique vers une conclusion marquée molto feroce. Cette petite cellule rythmique apporte de la cohérence formelle et, à cette époque, Schulhoff la mettait partout: le Double concerto et la Sonate pour piano no 3, rédigés la même année que la présente Sonate, ont des mouvements recourant à ce même motif rythmique—un geste musical qui, à l’évidence, obsédait alors le compositeur. La Sonate pour violon no 2 fut créée à Genève le 7 avril 1929 avec le violoniste Richard Zika et Schulhoff au piano.

extrait des notes rédigées par Nigel Simeone © 2011
Français: Hypérion

Die Sonate Nr. 2 für Violine und Klavier WV91 wurde im November 1927 unmittelbar im Anschluss an Esquisses de jazz (mit Charleston, Tango und Black Bottom) komponiert, doch kommt der stärkste Einfluss nicht vom Jazz, sondern von Béla Bartók, den Schulhoff sehr bewunderte. Schulhoffs reife Sprache ist jedoch unverkennbar, und in diesem Stück nutzt er geschickt einige motivische Strukturen, die die gesamte Sonate zusammenhalten. Der erste Satz beginnt mit einem energischen, rhythmischen Violinthema, aus dem im weiteren Verlauf des Satzes neue Themen entstehen: Das kontrastierende zweite Thema hat mit dem ersten einige rhythmische Elemente gemeinsam, die einen faszinierenden Zusammenhang herstellen. Aber Schulhoff geht noch weiter, indem er das kurze Andante mit langsam einleitenden glockenartigen Akkorden beginnt und die Violine mit demselben rhythmischen Motiv wie im ersten Satz, zwei betonten Sechzehnteln mit anschließender ganzer Note, einsetzen lässt, und diese Idee zieht sich durch die gesamte Sonate hindurch. Tatsächlich beginnt der dritte Satz, die Burlesca, mit demselben Rhythmus, wenngleich in anderem Zusammenhang. Am Anfang des letzten Satzes wiederholt Schulhoff die Eröffnung des ersten Satzes, bevor er neue, faszinierend vorwärts treibende Richtungen einschlägt. Ganz am Ende erscheint wieder die aus drei Tönen bestehende Gruppe, die dem mit molto feroce markierten Abschluss zutreibt. Diese kleine Rhythmuszelle leistet ganze Arbeit als Mittel des Zusammenhalts und findet sich auch in zahlreichen anderen Werken von Schulhoff aus dieser Zeit: Das Doppelkonzert und die Klaviersonate Nr. 3 entstanden im selben Jahr wie die Violinsonate Nr. 2 und haben Sätze, in denen dasselbe Rhythmusmotiv verarbeitet wird. Ganz offensichtlich war der Komponist zu jener Zeit sehr eingenommen von dieser musikalischen Geste. Die Uraufführung der zweiten Violinsonate fand am 7. April 1929 in Genf mit dem Geiger Richard Zika und Schulhoff selbst am Klavier statt.

aus dem Begleittext von Nigel Simeone © 2011
Deutsch: Henning Weber

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