Franck Sonata Though a contemporary of Frederic Chopin, Robert Schumann and Franz Liszt, the brightest stars of the Romantic Era in Music, all of Franck's greatest compositions appeared only after they had died, proving that a composer can be a success even if not a child prodigy. This sonata was written in 1886, the year that Liszt died. (He lived the longest of the three greats, Chopin having died in 1849, Schumannin 1856.) Franck was principally an organist, something one would never guess from his violin and piano sonata, which gushes with hot passion and heart-on-one's - sleeve sentiment; it's as if he were trying to prove he could write in a completely opposite way to the reserved formality of the organ. Franck was born in Belgian, but he took French citizenship; the sonata was written as a wedding gift for Eugene Ysaye, another Belgian, and himself a composer for the violin, and the dominant violinist of his age. Although he then premiered it and promoted it, he left no recordings of it behind. (Yasae's historic recordings were made 1912-1914 and then have been re-issued on CD.) Brahms Sonata no. 3 in d minor The storminess of the third sonata makes a distinct contrast to the lyrical, pastoral nature of the first two. It was begun in 1886, completed in 1888. Brahms had two trusted friends that he sent all his compositions to: the pianist and love of his life, Clara Schumann, and the violinist, Joseph Joachim. If Clara did not approve the composition it was burned. With Joachim he worked closely on his violin concerto, and Brahms became so inspired with writing for violin, that three violin and piano sonatas soon followed the concerto. Joachim lived longer than either Brahms or Clara Schumann, leaving behind an early recording from 1906 of one of Brahm's Hungarian dances. Brahms also left behind some fuzzy piano recordings from 1897 made on an Edison wax cylinder. The thick, intense violin sound, (especially prominent in the second and fourth movements of the third sonata) that Brahms promoted in his violin concerto has become the standard for violin playing today, in fact sponsoring a modern revolt for lighter and smaller vibrato sound in the music of Bach and Mozart. Arnsten has a strong connection to this tradition through his London teacher, Joan Davies, who studied with Ilona Eibenshutz, who studied with both Clara Schumann and with Brahms. Brahms and Joachim performed the premiere of the sonata in 1888 in Vienna. Debussy Sonata for Violin and Piano In 1915, Debussy's publisher, Durand, announced Debussy's grand project of six sonatas for various instruments. It was the middle of World War One, and when he completed the sonata, he signed himself Claude Debussy, French musician. Not only did he feel that his country and culture were under attack, as well as the death in war of many friends, but he himself was also in the midst of a battle with cancer. Of the six sonatas planned, he completed only three before he were died; Cello and piano; flute, violin and harp; and this, his final composition, the violin and piano sonata. It was premiered on May 5, 1917. In a letter to a friend, he described it disparagingly as the product off a sick man in wartime. But in spite of the physical pain and mental anguish the composer was suffering, his sonata is light, airy, full of magic, breathless moments, and incredible electricity and energy. The only hint that it is the product of a sick old man is the striking efficiency and compactness of the composition. It contains as much detail as an hour-long symphony by Mahler, yet lasts less than fifteen minutes.