The young German violinist Carolin Widmann, who received praise and awards both for her accounts of Schumann’s Violin Sonatas and for the recital disc ‘Phantasy of Spring’ (music of Feldman, Zimmermann, Schoenberg and Xenakis) now applies her acute interpretive sensibilities to Franz Schubert. Widmann and pianist Alexander Lonquich (whose own ECM New Series disc with music of Schumann and Holliger was also a critical success) play the C major Fantasy of 1827 and the Violin Sonata in A of 1817, as well as the B minor Rondo of 1826, the only one of these works published in Schubert’s lifetime.
This insightful Schubert recording is a first documentation of the musical alliance between Widmann and Lonquich, which has been gathering momentum since they first came together to play Messiaen in Salzburg in 2008. The following year a solo recital by the pianist in Rome convinced Widmann that they should “collaborate on Schubert’s music for violin and piano”.
This is duo playing at a very high level, as Hans-Klaus Jungheinrich emphasizes in the liner notes: “Not once does Carolin Widmann and Alexander Lonquich’s intelligent and empathetic reading devolve into the trivial state of music for a domineering violin with piano accompaniment. Instead we are treated to a magically iridescent poem of changing colours, melodies and counterpoints.”
Munich-born Carolin Widmann has performed as soloist with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Orchestre National de France, Orchestra di Santa Cecilia, Tonhalle-Orchester Zurich, RSO Vienna, BBC Symphony Orchestra London, London Philharmonic Orchestra and the China Philharmonic in Beijing, collaborating with conductors Riccardo Chailly, Sir Roger Norrington, Vladimir Jurowski, Emanuel Krivine, Peter Eötvös and Heinz Holliger.
Franz Schubert: Fantasia in C, for Violin and Piano D.934
Andantino (Tema con variazioni)
Allegro vivace - Allegretto - Presto
Franz Schubert: Rondo in B minor, D. 895, op.70
Franz Schubert: Sonata for Violin and Piano in A, D.574
16th February 2012
“The disc is worth hearing just for the way in which Widmann colours that opening [of the C minor Fantasie] alone, reducing her tone to the slenderest thread, minimising her vibrato and gradually breathing life into the work. It's extraordinary playing, full of imagination and profound intelligence, and just as powerfully effective in the smaller-scale works.”
“This is a fascinating Schubert recital...It is arguably in the more intense passages of these two works that these players are most compelling, though there's no shortage of virtuosity either, particularly in the finale of the Fantasie. As a duo there is much impress too, not least in their sensitive approach to rubato...a highly reactive, involving interpretation [of the Sonata] and a reminder of the riches that Schubert bequeathed to the violin.”
“Widmann and Lonquich are happy to take each piece on its own terms, to mainly winning effect.”
“both violinist and pianist seem deeply committed, and they do the best they can to make the music come alive.”
Click on any of the works listed above for alternative recordings.