Jennifer Koh
Schumann Sonatas

By Steven Winn
San Francisco Chronicle
Sunday, April 15, 2007
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Schumann's three sonatas for violin and piano are full of handsome, open-hearted music that deserves to be better known. Violinist Jennifer Koh and pianist Reiko Uchida make a strong case for these three minor-key works, in lyrical, taut and mutually responsive performances. The expansive and eventful Sonata No. 2 in D Minor is the main attraction. The outer movements have a surging inventiveness that brings out the best in this team. The sonata's sweet slow movement, however, comes a bit tentatively. Koh and Uchida share an instinct for emphatic declaration throughout. Themes are strikingly stated and developed with a lean, driving elegance. In the teasing Allegretto of the first sonata and a short, songlike Intermezzo in the third, they also exhibit a flair for irony and wit.

© 2007 San Francisco Chronicle