Hans Pfitzner

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Violin Sonata in e minor, Op.27

Pfitzner's Violin Sonata in e minor dates from 1922. It is in three big movements. The opening movement, Allegro espressivo, consists of four sections and begins with a sweeping melody of great breadth. Powerful and dramatic episodes are juxtaposed with more gentle and calm sections. In the second movement, Adagio fantasia, has a brooding presence as it wanders over a big tonal canvas. The finale, Äußerst schwungvoll und feurig (full of energy and fire) is just what the marking suggests.


Hans Pfitzner (1869–1949) was born in Moscow of German parents. His father was a professional violinist and he received violin lessons from his father. Later he studied piano and composition at the Hoch Conservatory in Frankfurt. He enjoyed a long career as a conductor and teacher. His music was held in high regard by contemporaries such as Richard Strauss and Gustav Mahler. Pfitzner was an avowed opponent of the Second Vienna School with its serialism and atonal music. Instead, he sought new paths for traditional tonality. He composed in nearly every genre and is best known for his operas. He did not ignore chamber music, writing a number of string quartets, two piano trios, a piano quintet and a few instrumental sonatas


This big post Brahmsian, very late Romantic work created quite a stir and the fact that it did not enter the repertoire was probably due to the fact that in 1922 it was considered 'old fashioned' by the atonal advocates, despite the fact from a tonal standpoint it was quite advanced.


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