Richard Strauss (1864-1949)
As a preview of what will likely be the final installment to the War of the Romantics series, here is the Sonata for violin and piano by Richard Strauss. Since most people view Strauss as a composer of tone poems, operas, and horn concertos, it is hard to grasp that he also composed a violin concerto, a string quartet, a cello sonata, and this piece. These are just a few of his lesser known works.
This was written while Strauss was 23 years old, at aproximately the same time that Brahms was writing his violin sonatas. It has the same melodic beauty as any Brahms sonata, but it shows some characteristics of Strauss in its structure and key (it seems as if Strauss was obsessed with the key of E-Flat, not a common key for violin music).
This piece is unfortunately played far too rarely. So, for a lover of Milstein, Stern, Oistrakh, and Menuhin like me, it was disappointing to find only one CD with the Strauss sonata and concerto on it. This is not to demean the great playing of Sarah Chang on this recording, I'm just disappointed that there aren't more out there. However, this CD does a good job of showing what a wonderful piece this is.
Sonata for Violin and Piano in E-Flat, Op. 18
Sarah Chang- Violin, Wolfgang Sawallisch- Piano, EMI Classics