Ravel: 3 Sonates pour Violon

Chantal Juillet, violon
Pascal Rogé, piano
Truls Mørk, violoncelle

1996: Decca 448 612-2

  1. Tzigane
  2. Pièce en forme de habanera
  3. Sonate posthume pour violon et piano   (1897)
  4. Berceuse sur le nom de Gabriel Fauré

    Sonate pour violon et violoncelle

  5. I.  Allegro
  6. II.  Très vif
  7. III.  Lent
  8. IV.  Vif, avec entrain
  9. Kaddish   (transcr. Lucien Garban)

    Sonate pour violon et piano   (1927)

  10. I.  Allegretto
  11. II.  Blues: Moderato
  12. III.  Perpetuum mobile: Allegro

I have this primarily because of its recordings of the Kaddish and the Sonate Posthume; the latter is especially delicious, and I can hear in it precursor elements of Ravel’s later Sonate pour violon et piano—elements such as what are here nostalgic descending tones from re to do and in the other from la to so, both of which in Ravel’s gorgeous handling evoking in me memories of rain-slicked cobblestone streets in Paris. It’s a terribly beautiful effect.

However, I’m too religious a devoté of the breathtakingly solid Mintz/Bronfman recording of the Sonate pour violon et piano to be able to listen to Juillet and Rogé’s version here without effort and dissatisfaction. It’s not at all bad…but when you’ve heard something done *just right,* it’s hard to be swayed by another version. (I have the same problem with any version of Stravinsky’s Le Sacre du Printemps but that of the exemplary one by the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.)