In Schumann’s catalog of chamber works, his three sonatas for violin and piano are not performed as often as his popular Piano Quintet or “Fantasiestücke.” With sensitive musicianship, the violinist Jennifer Koh and the pianist Reiko Uchida illuminate the charm and depth of these three works, in which the two instruments have an equal role. Particularly impressive is their performance of the Sonata No. 2 in D minor, a key that for Schumann (as for Mozart) had a particular significance, implying emotional turbulence.
Having posited a possible reason why Schumann’s violin sonatas may not be as popular as they might otherwise be, I can tell you that they are gorgeous, and without doubt among the finest pieces of chamber music Schumann produced. If the third movements respectively of the D-Minor and A-Minor (No. 3) Sonatas don’t move you to tears, I can’t imagine any music that will.