Violin Sonata No.2, Op.35
Carl Nielsen (1865-1931) achieved international recognition as a composer and even today is regarded as Denmark’s most important 20th century composer. For many years his symphonies were widely performed. Unfortunately, this was not the case with his fine chamber music. Nielsen was born on the island of Fyn (Funen), the seventh of twelve children. His father was a painter by trade, who also played the violin and cornet and as a result was much in demand as a village musician. Nielsen exhibited a talent for music at an early age. His father suggested he study a wind instrument so that he might pursue the career of a musician in a regimental band. Nielsen followed this path briefly but decided he wanted to study violin and to compose. So with the financial help of friends, he was able to attend the Royal Conservatory in Copenhagen where he studied with Niels Gade.
Nielsen's Second Violin Sonata was composed in 1912. Even though recent developments had moved music considerably forward, the Second Sonata was also considered very modern by critics of that era. Like the First Sonata, it is in three movements. The opening movement, Allegro con tiepidezza, begins gently and has a pastoral calm to it. However, it quickly followed by a powerful risoluto section. This, in turn, is followed by a quieter and more lyrical section and this remains the pattern throughout this substantial movement. The middle movement, Adagio molto, opens with a series of thrusting notes but gives way to sad and search theme. The middle section is a continuation on a larger scale of the explosive power of the opening bars. The flowing main theme of the finale, Allegro piacevole, is only interrupted by a triumphant episode in its middle section.
This is an important early modern violin sonata which will certainly be of interest in the recital hall where it deserves to be heard