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Sonata for violin and piano in A major

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Allegro ben moderato – Allegro – Recitativo-Fantasia. Ben moderato - Allegro poco mosso

Franck composed this Sonata in 1886 and presented the score to Eugène Ysaÿe, its dedicatee, on his wedding day. On 28 September, the violinist played it with Marie-Léontine Bordes-Pène. The same performers gave its public premiere at the Cercle Artistique et Littéraire in Brussels on 16 December, and then revealed it to the Parisian public on 5 May 1887. Relentlessly championed by Ysaÿe throughout his career, this most famous French sonata of the nineteenth century is said to be one of the sources of inspiration for the “Vinteuil Sonata” that Swann associates with his love for Odette in Proust’s In Search of Lost Time: “This thirst for an unknown delight was awakened in him by the little phrase, but without bringing him any precise gratification to assuage it. With the result that those parts of Swann’s soul in which the little phrase had obliterated all concern for material interests, those human considerations which affect all men alike, were left vacant by it, blank pages on which he was at liberty to inscribe the name of Odette. Moreover, in so far as Odette’s affection might seem a little abrupt and disappointing, the little phrase would come to supplement it, to blend with it its own mysterious essence.” Franck’s Sonata is known for its free yet rigorous form. The cyclical theme of the opening Allegro recurs throughout the work, sometimes almost imperceptibly. After the passionate and tumultuous second movement, the declamation of the Recitativo-Fantasia breaks free from pre-established structures. The finale, with its flexible treatment of the rondo form, is based on canonical writing, while retaining a remarkable clarity.


publication date : 25/09/23

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