MOZART Sonata for Piano and Violin in E Minor, K. 304
Mozart’s first publications were two pairs of violin sonatas, K. 6–7 and K. 8–9, which appeared in Paris in 1764. By his 10th birthday, he had composed no fewer than 16 violin sonatas—now classified as juvenilia—to which another 16 “mature” sonatas would be added by 1788. By the end of the E-Minor Sonata, written in 1778, Mozart’s music has plumbed unexpected depths.
DEBUSSY Sonata for Violin and Piano
Debussy’s last completed work, the Violin Sonata was part of an ambitious project to recapture the clarity and balance that the quintessentially Gallic composer associated with France’s musical patrimony. (On the sonata’s title page, Debussy proudly signed himself as a musicien français.) The colorful, lighthearted score—which he described as “full of a joyous tumult”—betrays no hint of the fatal illness that would end Debussy’s life a few months later.
SEBASTIAN CURRIER Ghost Trio
Written for Anne-Sophie Mutter, this Janus-faced work by American composer Sebastian Currier looks both backward and forward. Its nine short movements are haunted by the “ghosts” of piano trios past, which Currier quotes, queries, and twists tantalizingly out of shape.
MOZART Sonata for Piano and Violin in B-flat Major, K. 454
Written for Italian virtuoso Regina Strinasacchi, this high-spirited work is concerto-like in the technical demands it makes of the violinist. Unlike Mozart’s earlier violin sonatas that shone the spotlight on the keyboard, K. 454 presents the two players as equal partners. According to legend, the composer performed his part from memory at the premiere.
POULENC Sonata for Violin and Piano
Poulenc’s characteristically wistful lyricism is on display in this elegantly crafted sonata, written in Nazi-occupied Paris during World War II. The melancholy, faintly Spanish-flavored slow movement was inspired by a line from poet Federico García Lorca: “The guitar makes dreams weep.”