Frank’s Sonata and “In Search of Lost Time”
The distinguished Belgian composer, pianist, organist and educator César Frank, who used to live mainly in Paris, has left us, among other things, a masterpiece of violinist literature. Frank’s piano and violin sonata is one of the world’s best known violin sonatas and one of the first examples of cyclic sonata. For this, the author has re-exposed the first theme of the first movement even at other movements as well. The sonata was written by Franko 63 year old as a wedding gift of one of the most famous violinists of the times of speaking Eugène Ysaÿe. The first sonata performance took place on December 16, 1886 and it executed by Ysaÿe (then 31) and the pianist Léontine-Marie Bordes-Pene in Brussels. They say that this Sonata inspired Marcel Proust to write his most important work “In Search of Time Lost” (À la recherche du temps perdu) written in 1909-1922, published in 7 volumes. The writer and literary critic Marcel Proust (1871-1922) being considered as one of the greatest universal writers of the time, linked the power of his original expression and the detailed description of human inner processes.
This sonata was played by hundreds of violinists, including wonderful versions by Henryk Szeryng Jascha Heifetz, Christian Ferras, David Oistrak with Sviatoslav Richter, Isaac Stern with Alexander Zakin, Menuhin brothers, Vadim Repin, Joshua Bell and others. An interesting version is that of Ruggiero Ricci with Martha Argerich, executed at Carnegie Hall, New York.For its beauty and emotional grandeur this sonata is also been transcript for flute, violas, and saxophone, as well as for violin and orchestral accompaniment. The composer Alfred Cortot has made a solo version for the solo violin of this sonata. Enjoy the wonderful description of the human nature done by Frank in this sonata.