Schumann & Strauss – The First and the Last Romantic
Noé Inui & Vassilis Varvaresos
Robert Schumannn (1810–1856)
Sonata No. 2 for Violin and Piano in D minor, Op. 121
Richard Strauss (1864–1949)
Sonata in E-flat major, Op. 18
‘Notable from the off is a sense of real partnership with pianist Vassilis Varvaresos. There’s something undeniably attractive about Inui’s light, lean interpretation.’Gramophone
Noé: ‘There are so many masterpieces in the violin-piano duo repertoire. The Strauss sonata was in our programme when we toured in the US for the first time together. The pleasure we had playing this piece on stage brought to us the idea of making a CD, and this then took us to Schumann’s second sonata. We tried to find a piece which could stand alongside the orchestral dimensions of Strauss’s sonata.’
Richard Strauss’s Sonata in E-flat major Op. 18 can be considered a youthful work but, given the extra impetus of inspiration gained from new-found love in his future wife the singer Pauline de Ahna, this is also an uncompromisingly demanding piece which saw the composer at the top of his game at this point in his development.
Robert Schumann’s Second Violin Sonata emerged after frustration in his failure to establish himself as a conductor in Düsseldorf but during a period of ongoing compositional productivity before his final illness took hold. Written almost immediately after the First Violin Sonata it can be seen as the big brother to its predecessor; taking the genre further, the trained muscles now set for even more ambitious musical exploration.
– From the booklet notes by Dominy Clements
‘A compelling performance. Inui’s intonation is impeccable, and his large-scaled playing, varied vibrato and tonal variance are a positive asset in a canvas such as this.’MusicWeb
‘The performances are top-notch. The interplay between the two musicians is sublime and they know how to colour the sound in such a way that the piano and violin sometimes merge unnoticeably.’Volkskrant