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.
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.