ESSENTIAL RECORDINGS
Robert Schumann - Violin Sonatas


ROBERT SCHUMANN - Violin Sonatas 1-3 - Nicolas Chumachenco (Violin) - Kalle Randalu (Piano) - MDG 3041647

Although Robert Schumann composed his Sonatas for Violin and Piano rather quickly, one of them taking only four days to finish, they were written late in his life, at a time when he was exhibiting symptoms of mental illness, and are rather serious, even severe in nature, and drenched in academic gestures and ponderous ideas. Therefore it takes perceptive minds to filter out the excess musical bagage and reveal the essence at their core. Nicolas Chumachenco and Kalle Randalu, both members of the excellent chamber group Ensemble Villa Musica, achieve exactly that with a reading that eschews the temptation to overly dramatize the music. Not to say that they are emotional featherweights and lack any extramusical insights. On the contrary, by simply not overindulging in the melodrama, they actually make you sense the torment behind the notes, rather than slap you in the face with it. They play together as of one mind. Constantly communicating with each other to create a natural ebb and flow within the music's momentum.

The best way I can describe the quality of the musicianship in this recording is like this. Over the last month or so, including this MDG release, there has been three new recordings of these Violin Sonatas. Using the popular fairy tale of 'Goldilocks and the Three Bears' as an example, I would say that one of these recordings is too emotionally rough, one is too prudish and fussy, and this one is just right.

Jean-Yves Duperron - September 2010