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César Franck’s passionate and sunny violin sonata has long been regarded as one of the greatest in the repertoire, and is the work of a composer at the height of his powers. Richard Strauss’s violin sonata, composed a year after Franck’s in 1887, is the work of a young composer on the cusp of discovering his mature voice; lyrical and sumptuous, it has all the hallmarks of his later style. This disc includes two Franck rarities – 'Mélancolie' and the 'Prelude, Fugue and Variation' Op.18, originally for organ, heard here in an arrangement by Augustin Dumay and Louis Lortie.
The distinguished violinist and conductor Augustin Dumay and pianist Louis Lortie – recently desribed as ‘mesmerising’ by the New York Times – are now a regular partnership, and this recording marks the duo’s debut recording. Their programme of Franck and Strauss concludes with the wonderful Heifetz arrangement of Strauss’s song ‘Auf stillem Waldespfad’.
Dumay has a busy ONYX schedule this year with a CD of four great Mozart violin sonatas, in which he is joined by Maria João Pires, and as conductor and soloist in Brahms’s Serenade No.1 and the two Beethoven Romances with his Kansai Philharmonic Orchestra.
24th February 2013
“This coupling is not as strange as it might seem on paper...Dumay’s clean, sweet tone harks back to the great exemplars of the Franco-Belgian school, Arthur Grumiaux and Eugène Ysayë, the dedicatee of Franck’s Sonata. Their way with this heady, passionate music is expansive, with melting portamentos in the great Recitative-Fantasia, and entirely idiomatic.”
“Compelling playing form one of today’s great violinists … this outstanding disc is a timely reminder of one of the modern violin greats.”
“Augustin Dumay and Louis Lortie, ideally matched in this work, make it easy to lose oneself in the ardent Straussian reverie … Here’s a violinist who knows all the tricks – the expressiveness of a well-placed portamento, the way that carefully regulated vibrato gives every note a beating heart and so on … I will return to it [the recording] often.”
“Make no mistake, this is artistry of the highest order. In their hands, Strauss's melodic fluency somehow manages to combine rich luxuriance with deftness of gesture.”
“[the Franck] is full of passion and drama, while respecting the composer's detailed markings in the score...All in all, it's a splendid, thrilling performance...The full, realistic sound of the recording, notably of Lortie's bass register, allows the virtuoso character of much of the [Strauss] to make its full impact”
26th June 2013
“What has drawn me to these performances has been the refined and cultivated playing on offer and the perceived empathy between the two players...Tempi are well-judged, as are dynamic control and phrasing. They capture the essence of the music, and Franck’s soaring lyricism pervades what we hear.”
18th December 2014
“[Dumay's] colours are strikingly effective...very half-tone that he brings to the slow movement of the D minor Op 108. And in Louis Lortie he has a partner who is both wonderfully attentive and full of imaginative ideas in his own right; it’s a disc to treasure.”
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