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Antheil: Violin Sonatas

George Antheil is best remembered for his deliberately shocking orchestral score Ballet mécanique, composed during his avant-garde earlier years in 1920s Paris. The four Violin Sonatas represent both this daring early period and his more Romantic, yet still spiky output following his return to the US in 1936. Complete editions of Antheil's Violin Sonatas are a rarity, as is the interpretative and technical brilliance of violinist Tianwa Yang, a leading Naxos artist whose every release proves to be a triumph.

George ANTHEIL (1900–1959)
Violin Sonatas Nos. 1–4

Tianwa Yang, Violin
Nicholas Rimmer, Piano, drums

New Jersey-born George Antheil traveled to Europe in 1922 determined to become “noted and notorious” as a pianist-composer, soon gaining a reputation as the “bad boy of music” with works such as the infamous Ballet mécanique. The first three violin sonatas come from this period, with the eclectic Violin Sonata No. 1 displaying the fiercely barbaric influence of Stravinsky, and the more jazzy No. 2 developing experiments in “musical cubism”. His Violin Sonata No. 3 achieves a synthesis of Stravinskian rhythms and Antheil’s more song-like tendencies, while the later No. 4 is built on Classical and Baroque models.

Listen to an extract from Violin Sonata No. 2
About the Artists
Tianwa Yang | © Andrej Grilc
© Andrej Grilc

Violinist Tianwa Yang won the prestigious Opus Klassik Instrumentalist of the Year Award (Violin) in 2022 for her Naxos release of Prokofiev’s Violin Concertos Nos. 1 and 2, and in 2015 for her album of Ysaÿe’s Six Sonatas for Solo Violin, Op. 27. In 2014 she received the Best Up-and-Coming Artist Award and the annual prize of the German Record Critics’ Award Association for her recordings of Mendelssohn’s Violin Concertos and Sarasate’s complete works for violin, also on Naxos. She has performed extensively with major orchestras in the US, Asia and Europe.

Nicholas Rimmer | © Andrej Grilc
© Andrej Grilc

A pianist with a keen interest in both solo recitals, chamber music, Lied and historical keyboard instruments, Nicholas Rimmer’s discography numbers over 20 albums, including three recordings for Naxos. In 2012 he formed a duo partnership with violinist Tianwa Yang, collaborating regularly on a wide range of repertory. Their recording of works by Wolfgang Rihm received a Diapason d’Or, a Pizzicato Supersonic Award, and an International Record Review ‘Outstanding’ Recommendation.

More outstanding albums featuring Tianwa Yang
‘Tianwa Yang and Nicholas Rimmer sound quite at home, even in the most difficult passages, and imbue these works with emotion, as well as meeting their technical challenges with aplomb.’
BBC Music Magazine
‘The tuning is perfect, and it is a mature, assertive and compelling performance that honours these sonatas as much more than the study pieces they are often labelled. It is a beautifully polished recording.’
Violin Concertos Nos. 1 and 2
Sonata for Solo Violin

Yang • ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra • Märkl
‘With violinist Tianwa Yang you can always count on a mixture of dazzling technique, colour, tone and musical intelligence, and so it proves again.’
The WholeNote
Violin Concertos
Violin Sonata in F minor

Yang • Descharmes • Sinfonia Finlandia Jyväskylä • Gallois
‘In Tianwa Yang we find an artist of exceptional technique and musicianship. Above all, her tone, particularly at the extremes, on the E and G strings, is heart-meltingly beautiful…impeccable technique throughout.’
BBC Music Magazine ★★★★★
For the full list of Tianwa Yang’s discography on Naxos, please visit

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