Violin Sonata No.3 in E Major, Op.60
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.
It is not clear when Franck composed his Op.60 Violin Sonata as it was undated and not published until after his death, however, it is probably fair to assume that as a late work, it dates from the 1880's. The opening movement although marked Allegro, begins sedately with a very noble theme, its lyricism very typical of Franck from this period. The second theme is very closely related to one from his second sextet and the whole mood is relaxed. A lovely, lilting Scherzo comes next. It is music which could be danced to. The slow movement, Allegretto, with its wonderful singing melody, is more in the way of lazy intermezzo. The finale, Presto, surprises with the powerful opening chords in the violin, before the piano gives out a stately melody which seamlessly morphs into a light and quick series of episodes.
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 another fine recital piece par excellence. We hope that amateurs and professionals will take the time to make the acquaintance of this wonderful sonata.