Gernsheim’s Emphatically Expressive Violin Sonatas
For the biographer Karl Holl chamber music was »Friedrich Gernsheim’s very special artistic domain.« The composer again and again returned to this field during the course of his life, from his beginnings in Leipzig and Paris to his later Berlin years. The violin sonatas in particular stand out in this group within his oeuvre because they, more than any other genre, document his compositional development. Things began with the fourteen-year-old’s Sonata in E minor, composed for exercise purposes in Leipzig and heard here for the first time on CD, and continued by way of his op. 4, his first full-fledged contribution to this genre, to the mature opp. 50, 64, and 85, with thirteen to fourteen years separating the composition of each of these works. The fourth sonata, a work dedicated to Henri Marteau, may be regarded as the high point of Gernsheim’s duo oeuvre: here his contrapuntal line of thought, something that he had always cultivated, extends over the entire composition.