- Sonata for violin & piano in A major, M. 8
- Sonata for violin solo in G major, Op. 27/5
- Sonata for violin solo No. 6, Op. 27/6
- Sonata for violin & piano
Yossif Ivanov is a young Belgian violinist (19 at the time of this recording) who already is making mature decisions about his work. In the notes of his first recording, simply called Sonatas, he says that he wanted to center the disc on Eugène Ysaÿe, the great Belgian violinist and composer. So he started with César Franck's "Sonata in A major," written for Ysaÿe, chose a couple of Ysaÿe's own solo sonatas, then was going to end with Ernest Chausson's "Poème," also dedicated to Ysaÿe. However, he changed his mind and instead chose to record a sonata for violin and piano written by fellow Belgian Rafaël d'Haene. D'Haene wrote the sonata for Ivanov, and it fits well with the other sonatas. Its tonal and harmonic language is like that of the Ysaÿe, as are its contrasts of textures, and the way the continuous movements are thematically linked is like Franck's sonata. It also gives the violin many solo lines that seem like the Recitative of the Franck and the stream-of-thought-like Ysaÿe, such as at the very opening where Ivanov plays as if he's playing to himself and no one else. The movement goes on to become not quite a full dialog with the piano, which tersely interjects or shyly echoes the violin. In the other movements, the two are more like partners sharing the music, trading off roles of soloist and accompanist. The energetic final movement is built entirely on the first motif heard in the second movement. The Ysaÿe sonatas Ivanov chose are Nos. 5 and 6 of the Op. 27 set. The two are not recorded as frequently as the other four. "No. 5"'s first movement features long, bowed notes while the left-hand plucks at the strings, something that not all violinists find easy to do. Ivanov does manage it beautifully, using different touches and giving the pizzicatos dynamic shape that contrasts with the bowed line but doesn't disrupt or distort it. All of these works are virtuosic in many places, and Ivanov certainly plays with strength and animation, but he never gives the impression that he is using the music to show off his skills. He and pianist Daniel Blumenthal work together to bring the music to life and share it with the listener. The recording's sound for the violin is close enough to hear Ivanov's breathing and the bow gripping the strings. However, at least in the Franck, even though the violin and piano are more often partners than soloist and accompaniment, the piano seems too often in front of the violin.