“A whole disc of unaccompanied violin may seem daunting — and mainly modern music, too — but Widmann’s items are intriguing and her playing is magnificent.” Sunday Times, 9th November 2014

“More Sciarrino here – six caprices written for Accardo and dispatched with winning panache by Widmann. Boulez’s Anthemes is knottier but satisfyingly rigorous, as are Widmann frère’s etudes. These are interspersed with two of Ysaÿe’s solo sonatas, dedicated to Thibaud and Kreisler respectively, and here dazzlingly played. Warm, clear German Radio sound.” Classical Music *****

When writing for a solo instrument like the violin, a composer is confronted with the limitations and the possibilities of the instrument on the one hand, but also with physical limits of the player on the other hand. In the end, only the reciprocal relationship between the soloist and the instrument defines the direction of sound, the musical process and the shape of composition.

This might be the reason why pieces for solo violin frequently were written by violinists who were very well acquainted with the possibilities of their own instrument. Apart from a plethora of acrobatic exercises, only a handful of masterworks prevailed.

Before Ysaÿe's six solo sonatas (written 1923/24) or Hungarian violinist and composer Zoltán Székely's solo sonata (written 1919/20), the established repertoire was limited to Bach's sonatas and partitas and Paganini's 24 Caprices.

Even though these works are more or less present in the minds of composers nowadays, the works for solo violin that were written in the second half of the 20th century and today experiment with new playing techniques and a new territory of expressivity.

Carolin Widmann plays a G B Guadagnini violin from 1782.

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