Violin Sonata in b minor
Ottorino Respighi became world-famous for his orchestral works, such as the Pines and the Fountains of Rome. Many will be surprised to learn that he also wrote chamber music. But Respighi was very interested in chamber music and wrote a considerable amount, including eight string quartets, a string quintet, a piano quintet and several instrumental sonatas.
Respighi (1879-1936) was born in Bologna and studied violin, piano and composition at the local conservatory. Becoming a first rate viola player, he was engaged to play a season for the Imperial Orchestra in St. Petersburg where he met and subsequently studied composition with Rimsky-Korsakov. Upon his return to Italy, he took up residence in Rome where he lived for the rest of his life.
The Violin Sonata, which is in three movements, dates from 1917. The opening movement, Moderato, begins with a searching theme in the violin. As the music moves forward, a heightened sense of drama is created by rising passages and swelling dynamics. The second movement, Andante espressivo, begins with a long piano introduction before brings forth a very smooth and romantic cantilena melody. It is in the form of an extended aria. The finale, Allegro moderato ma energico, begins with a long series of dark piano chords in a deep register. When the violin enters we hear an urgent, high dramatic and angry plaint. An implacable storm rages forth until at last it lightens somewhat allowing a more lyrical, but still highly charged second theme to emerge.
This is an original sounding sonata which will make a deep impression in the recital hall. It has never been easy to obtain and we are pleased to make it available now.