The bicentenary of Robert Schumann’s birth had a pretty low-key reception in 2010, competing as it was against Chopin’s and against the recent 150th of Schumann’s death. Amid the recordings that came my way, one that pinned my ears back was the violinist Ilya Gringolts taking on the much-underplayed second sonata – and doing so with captivating zest.
Schumann: Violin Sonata no.2 in D minor op.121 – II Sehr
Check the www.scena.org review:
Violin sonatas 1-3
Ilya Gringolts and pianist Peter Laul take a sunny approach to the sonatas, a welcome change from the usual gloom and doom. The first two are mid-romantic meditations, the third a posthumous reconstruction. Gringolts is velvety and seductive in the softer passages, avoiding the pursuit of speed and showmanship, a natural storyteller.
The recording was issued on the Onyx label, a really interesting enterprise started five years ago by a pair of executive drop-outs from the crumbling corporate biz. Here is what I wrote about them at the time. I’m glad to see that many of their expectations (and mine) have been fulfilled. Enjoy Gringolts in Schumann. More to come in the festive days ahead.