Franck: Violin Sonata & Chausson: Concert

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Franck: Violin Sonata & Chausson: Concert


Presto Disc of the Week

19th May 2017

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Release date:

19th May 2017




67 minutes


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Franck: Violin Sonata & Chausson: Concert


Concert in D major for piano, violin and string quartet, Op. 21

Salagon Quartet

Franck, C:

Violin Sonata in A major



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Read Presto's complete review of this disc here.

Regular chamber partners Isabelle Faust and Alexander Melnikov, playing on period instruments, shine new light on two major works of chamber music written at the dawn of the 20th century.

The 'Sonata' is Franck’s most frequently played and recorded work. Premiered by Eugène Ysaÿe, in Brussels on 16 December 1886, a judge as shrewd as Alfred Cortot was lucid enough to make an arrangement for solo piano. Since then it has been transcribed for nearly every instrument on the planet and is a permanent staple of the repertoire.

Although it is devoid of passages in double stopping or pizzicato, the violin part, replete with treacherous chromatic twists and turns, nonetheless poses formidable difficulties of intonation.

Franck's influence on Ernest Chausson's 'Concert' is unmistakable. A late-Romantic hybrid, the work blends elements of piano and string quintet styles and here regains a freshness which delicately illuminates, in the hands of Faust and Melnikov. Completed a year after the Symphony in B flat, and again written for Ysaÿe, the 'Concert' asserts its roots in the heritage of Rameau and Couperin, thus foreshadowing Debussy’s 'Hommage à Rameau' (1905) and Ravel’s 'Le Tombeau de Couperin' (1917).

César Franck: Sonata for Piano and Violin in A Major, FW 8

I. Allegro ben moderato

II. Allegro

III. Recitativo fantasia. Ben moderato

IV. Allegro poco mosso

Ernest Chausson: Concert for Violin, Piano and String Quartet in D Major, Op. 21

I. Décidé

II. Sicilienne

III. Grave

IV. Finale. Très animé

Gramophone Magazine

May 2017

“[Chausson] Faust and the quartet…conjures and maintains a spellbinding, moonlit atmosphere. [Franck] equally impressive…[Faust] finds intense expressivity in restraint and emotional directness.”

Presto Classical

James Longstaffe

19th May 2017

“Faust and Melnikov are utterly spellbinding. It might not be quite like any performance you’ve heard of the Franck sonata before, but that makes it all the more welcome; a genuine delight.”

Record Review

28th May 2017

“this disc is an absolute keeper; it’s sensational … it’s hard to imagine that Ysaÿe could have done better”

The Observer

11th June 2017

“few performers have reached into [the Franck's] incandescent erotic passion as this duo do here. The piano part is famously virtuosic, but Melnikov, an established soloist as well as Faust’s regular partner, makes light of its difficulties. Their vision of the piece and its turbulent emotions is grand in scale, almost operatic.”

Sunday Times

11th June 2017

“The A major Violin Sonata (1886) is his most frequently recorded work, but few performers have reached into its incandescent erotic passion as this duo do here. The piano part is famously virtuosic, but Melnikov, an established soloist as well as Faust’s regular partner, makes light of its difficulties … They are joined by the young Salagon Quartet in the undeservedly less familiar Chausson concerto — another heady French chamber work under the influence of “Wagnerisme”. The rising intensity of the trés animé finale is almost indecent, as Mme Franck might have said”

BBC Music Magazine

August 2017


“gut strings and an Erard piano from around 1885 help to create the welcome impression that we are in a Parisian salon, listening up close. The Erard has a rich, woody depth of tone; play no louder than a whisper yet without losing eloquence is surely facilitated by the gentle plangency of her strings.”

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