Violin Sonata No.3 in F Major, Op.64
Friedrich Gernsheim (1839-1916) is a composer whose music was held in the highest regard by his colleagues and critics during his lifetime. Brahms and Max Bruch were among the many who were admirers. Gernsheim, somewhat of a piano and violin virtuoso as a child, was eventually educated at the famous Leipzig Conservatory where he studied piano with Ignaz Moscheles and violin with Ferdinand David. After graduating, he continued his studies in Paris, getting to know Saint SaŽns, Lalo, Liszt and Rossini. Despite his admiration for France and the French, he returned to Germany and during the course of his life, he held academic and conducting positions in Cologne, Rotterdam and finally Berlin. Gernsheim wrote in most genres and chamber music occupied him thoughout his life. He has five string quartets, four piano trios, three piano quartets and two piano quintets to his credit as well as numerous instrumental sonatas.
It is no accident that Gernsheim's four violin sonatas exhibit such fine writing for both instruments and a perfect balance between the two, since he was both a first rate pianist and violinist. Sonata No.3 is a very substantial work dating from 1898. It is the only sonata of the four to be in four movements. From the very opening bars of the Allegro con brio it becomes clear that this is to be a work on a grand scale. The flourishes with which the work begins quickly gives way to lyricism but one which continually punctuated with powerful interruptions. The second movement, Allegro agitato, is a restless scherzo with gorgeous, slower middle section. The third movement, Andante molto espressivo, begins in a subdued fashion. The music unfolds cautiously. When the violin enters, we hear a lullaby-like melody. Very gradually, almost without notice, it rises to a highly romantic climax. The finale, Moderato e sempre cantabile, has for its main theme a genial and relaxed theme. But as things progress the treatment is varied in both tempo and temperature.
This is a late romantic sonata of the first rank, certainly deserving to be in the concert repertoire. Out of print and unavailable for well over a century we are pleased to make available once again.