Albéric Magnard

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Violin Sonata in g minor, Op.13

Albéric Magnard (1865-1914) was born in Paris to wealthy parents. His father François Magnard was a bestselling author and editor of the Paris newspaper Le Figaro. After military service and graduating from law school, he entered the Paris Conservatoire, where he studied counterpoint with Théodore Dubois, Jules Massenet and Vincent d'Indy. Magnard's musical output numbered only 22 works with opus numbers. Larger compositions such as symphonies were his main area of interest, however, he did write a piano trio, this string quartet and some instrumental sonatas. Magnard's musical style is typical of French composers contemporaneous to him, but occasionally, there are passages that foreshadow the music of Gustav Mahler. Magnard's use of cyclical form was influenced by Cesar Franck


His Violin Sonata dates from 1901 and is described by the critic Marcel Labey, writing in Cobbett's Cyclopedic Survey of Chamber Music as follows:


"The violin sonata begins with an expressive recitative for the violin alone with a fiery interruption by the piano, the instruments then play in concert with interchange of roles. The theme of the second movement, Andante, is one of the lovliest musical phrases imaginable. It is interrupted now and then by the appearance of a short, vigorous phrase. The Scherzo is very rhythmic and jolly, while the finale ends the work in a serener mood."


This sonata must be considered a major work of the literature. It is hard to understand how it has not obtained a place in the regular repertoire and we hope by reintroducing this long out of print work, that it may take its rightful place.


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