Violin Sonata No.5 in A Major, Op.95
Fuchs wrote violin sonatas throughout most of his life. There are six in all. His Fifth Violin Sonata was composed in 1912 some seven years after his Fourth Violin Sonata. In those years, a great deal had happened musically. In Vienna, where Fuchs was one of the cities leading composers and teachers, Arnold Schönberg had premiered his 12 tone system and left conventional tonality behind. Fuchs, in 1912, was 65 and had no intention of leaving traditional tonality. To the contrary, Violin Sonata No.5 might be viewed as a reaction to these developments. Classical in structure, tonally, it is more conservative than the preceding sonata. In all, it is a gentle work work. In four movements, it begins with a lyrical, Allegro moderato, perhaps inspired by Schubert. The dreamy second movement, Andante tranquillo, brings similar works by Robert Schumann to mind. Even the Allegretto moderato which follows is soft and gentle and more in the nature of an intermezzo than a scherzo. The finale, Allegretto, is light and upbeat. The main theme appears taken from the English folk tune, Hot Crossed Buns, which Haydn used in his London Symphony.
Robert Fuchs (1847-1927) was born near the Styrian capital of Graz and attended the University of Vienna Conservatory studying with Otto Dessoff and Joseph Hellmesberger. By 1875, he himself was teaching at the Conservatory, eventually rising to the rank of Professor of Composition. He was one of the most famous and revered teachers of his time. Mahler, Sibelius, Hugo Wolf, Franz Schmidt, Alexander Zemlinsky, Franz Schrecker and Richard Heuberger were among his many students.
All of Fuchs' violin sonatas are first rate and deserve recital hall performance. This work will surely appeal to players looking for a lovely lyrical work to provide a contrast with a more powerful program choice.