Violin Sonata No.2 in A Major, Op.23
Franck's Second Violin Sonata was composed in 1859, come six years after his First. Franck was no doubt attracted to the genre by the realization that not many first rate violin sonatas had been written since the days of Schumann.
Eduard Franck (1817-1893) was born in Breslau, the capital of the Prussian province of Silesia. He was the fourth child of a wealthy and cultivated banker who exposed his children to the best and brightest that Germany had to offer. Frequenters to the Franck home included such luminaries as Heine, Humboldt, Heller, Mendelssohn, and Wagner. His family’s financial position allowed Franck to study with Mendelssohn as a private student in Dusseldorf and later in Leipzig. As a talented pianist, he embarked upon a dual career as a concert artist and teacher for more than four decades during the course of which he held many positions. Although he was highly regarded as both a teacher and performer, he never achieved the public recognition of his better known contemporaries such as Mendelssohn, Schumann or Liszt. As fine a pianist as the first two and perhaps even a better teacher, the fact that he failed to publish very many of his compositions until toward the end of his life, in part, explains why he was not better known. Said to be a perfectionist, he continually delayed releasing his works until they were polished to his demanding standards. Schumann, among others, thought quite highly of the few works he did publish during the first part of his life.
Unlike the First Sonata, the Second is in four movements. The opening movement, Allegro, has for its main theme two parts. The first, a very Franckian melody, the second based on a scale passage. The second theme brings drama into the equation. A full statement of the peaceful and lovely folk melody, which is the main theme of the Andante con moto, is given out by the piano in a lengthy introduction before the violin enters. It is in the development that the element of forward motion is introduced. A light-footed, dancing Scherzo comes next. A darker trio section provides fine contrast. The main theme of the finale, Allegro espressivo, is expressive, but relatively calm. It is with the appearance of the second theme that drama and excitement are added.
Unavailable for well over 100 years, we are pleased to reprint it and are grateful to Dr. Paul Feuchte and Dr. Andreas Feuchte, the composer's great grandson and great-great grandson, for supplying us with a copy of the parts. This is a recital piece par excellence. We hope that amateurs and professionals will take the time to make the acquaintance of this wonderful sonata.