IVES Violin Sonatas Nos 1-4

New recordings by Hahn of her countryman’s violin sonatas

Author: 
Peter Dickinson

IVES Violin Sonatas Nos 1-4

  • Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 1
  • Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 2
  • Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 3
  • Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 4, 'Children's Day

When a star such as Hilary Hahn takes on the Ives violin-and-piano sonatas it has to be special. These four works came at the peak of Ives’s composing career, in the years around the First World War. He had reservations about the Third Sonata because he felt he’d weakened after a professional violinist criticised his dissonant, unplayable music. The Fourth is a curiosity because Ives quotes some of his father’s own music in the first movement, and it took Ives back to his own childhood.

Recordings of these sonatas started with 78s but the most authoritative, after some years of playing them from memory, was an LP with Daniel Stepner and that great Ivesian John Kirkpatrick on Musical Heritage in 1982. There have been several since. Today the competition for Hahn comes from Curt Thompson and Rodney Waters (Naxos, 9/04). Thompson did a doctorate on these pieces so knows his Ives, and the performances are thoroughly idiomatic, sometimes wayward, but with magical, transcendental soft passages.

In comparison, Hahn may have less tonal variety but she and Lisitsa, accurately balanced, are completely efficient in every way. They understand the Ives idiom, saturated with hymn-tunes; they swing with the best of them; and their performances are as convincing as anything on offer.

Gramophone Subscriptions

From£64/year

Gramophone Print

Gramophone Print

no Digital Edition
no Digital Archive
no Reviews Database
no Events & Offers
From£64/year
Subscribe
From£64/year

Gramophone Reviews

Gramophone Reviews

no Print Edition
no Digital Edition
no Digital Archive
no Events & Offers
From£64/year
Subscribe
From£64/year

Gramophone Digital Edition

Gramophone Digital Edition

no Print Edition
no Reviews Database
no Events & Offers
From£64/year
Subscribe

If you are a library, university or other organisation that would be interested in an institutional subscription to Gramophone please click here for further information.

© MA Business and Leisure Ltd. 2017