Franck – Violin Sonata in A major 

Telerama – ffff
Diapason d’Or
Diapason d’Or de l’Année 2022


César Franck forms a part of the rich musical heritage that made Belgium such an attractive centre of musical life during the 19th century. The 200th anniversary of this great composer’s birth is celebrated in December 2022. To mark this occasion, the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel, its recording partner Outhere (the Fuga Libera label in particular) and the Palazzetto Bru Zane present a new boxed set of Franck’s complete chamber works.

The individuality of this recording lies in the mentoring and joint performance that is the hallmark of the Music Chapel, with several of its masters in residence (Augustin Dumay, Gary Hoffman, Jean-Claude Vanden Eynden) or guest masters (Frank Braley), associate artists Lorenzo Gatto, Julien Libeer, Jonathan Fournel and the Adorno Quartet, as well as many promising young artists in residence.

Violin Sonata in A major
Lorenzo Gatto, violin and Julien Libeer, piano
CD 3, Track 6–9 (Spotify list: track 25–28)

‘Distinctly starry pairing of Lorenzo Gatto and Julien Libeer. Libeer’s limpid, responsive pianism provides an atmospheric grounding for Gatto’s ardent, intensely focused reading.’

— Gramophone

The Sonata for violin and piano (1886) brought Franck international fame that was greatly enhanced by the violinist Eugène Ysaÿe (1858-1931) – the work’s dedicatee – who performed the sonata throughout Europe and the United States. The Bande à Franck then swiftly took up the genre, which had fallen into disuse in France, and caused it to be reborn from its ashes. The sonata itself was so successful that Jules Delsart, a cello teacher at the Paris Conservatoire, requested Franck’s permission to arrange it for his own instrument (1888).

The Sonata has also had an influence on the world beyond music, as it served as one of the inspirations for Proust’s Sonate de Vinteuil. The sonata’s inspiration is not simply due to thematic reminiscence characteristic of cyclical form; the entire work is laid out in the first phrase with two motifs (an ascending third and a descending triad) from which themes evolve like characters.

Landormy: ‘The whole Sonata is therefore nothing more than the dialogue of two musical entities, two imaginary beings leaning towards each other; it culminates with their melding in requited love’. Maurice Emmanuel sees it as a copy of Beethoven’s Piano Sonata op. 101, n° 28.

From the booklet notes by Xavier Falques