Sibbi Bernhardsson & Peter Takács | Schubert: Three Sonatas for Piano and Violin, Op. 137

Release Date: April 21, 2023

UPC: 3191684102115


Audio – HD(.zip)

Cover Art(.jpg)


Catalog Number: LM270

Largely unknown at the time of Schubert’s death, the Sonatas for Violin and Piano (Op. posth. 137) were composed during a prolific two-month span in March–April of 1816. In addition to completing his Fourth Symphony (“Tragic”) during this creative outpouring, the nineteen-year-old penned some two dozen songs and a twelve-movement Stabat Mater (D. 383) for choir and orchestra. Schubert himself was a capable violinist (and violist) and had already written a significant body of work for strings, but this was his first foray into the violin sonata proper.

When Anton Diabelli published Op. 137 nearly a decade after Schubert’s passing, he advertised it as a set of three “sonatinas.” This description fits the lighthearted and brief Sonata in D Major but is notably ill-suited to the other two sonatas and was likely chosen to appeal to an amateur market. It is possible that Diabelli wanted to capture the music’s accessibility in contrast to Schubert’s virtuosic Rondo in B Minor (D. 895) and Fantasy in C (D. 934), but no matter Diabelli’s reasoning, the Op. 137 sonatas are in constant dialogue with the conventions of classical sonata form.

Icelandic violinist Sibbi Bernhardsson joined the Oberlin Conservatory faculty in 2017 after performing for seventeen years with the Pacifica Quartet, with which he won a Grammy Award for Best Chamber Music Performance, Musical America Ensemble of the Year honours, and the Avery Fisher Career Grant.

As a member of the Pacifica Quartet, Bernhardsson appeared in more than ninety concerts worldwide each year, including engagements in Wigmore Hall (London), the Vienna Konzerthaus, Concertgebouw (Amsterdam), Suntory Hall (Tokyo), Alice Tully and Carnegie Halls (New York), and other major venues. He has performed at the Edinburgh Festival, Ravinia, Music@Menlo, Music Academy of the West, and the Reykjavík Arts Festival and has collaborated with Menahem Pressler, Yo-Yo Ma, Jörg Widmann, Lynn Harrell, Leon Fleisher,Vadim Gluzman, the Emerson String Quartet, Johannes Moser, and members of the Guarneri and Cleveland Quartets. His television appearances include The Tonight ShowSaturday Night Live, and the MTV Europe Music Awards with Icelandic artist Björk. He appears on sixteen recordings with the Pacifica Quartet and has recorded the violin music of Þorkell Sigurbjörnsson and the sonatas for violin and piano by Franz Schubert.

Bernhardsson serves as director of the Cooper International Violin Competition at Oberlin and as artistic director of Iceland’s Harpa International Music Academy. He gives regular concerts and master classes in the United States, Europe, and Asia and has appeared as a soloist with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra, the Reykjavík Chamber Orchestra, CityMusic Cleveland, and other ensembles.

Bernhardsson is a 1995 graduate of Oberlin Conservatory. His teachers include Guðný Guðmundsdóttir, Almita and Roland Vamos, Mathias Tacke, and Shmuel Ashkenasi. He previously served on the faculty of the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University.

Romanian-born Peter Takács has performed widely, receiving critical and audience acclaim for his penetrating interpretations. Takács has performed as a guest soloist with major orchestras in the US and abroad, as well as at important summer festivals such as Tanglewood, Music Mountain, Chautauqua Institution, and Sweden’s Helsingborg Festival. Since 2008 he has been a member of the faculty at the Montecito Summer Music Festival in Santa Barbara, California. He performed and recorded the cycle of thirty-two Beethoven piano sonatas to critical acclaim in 2011. The Beethoven set was voted 2022 Album of the Year (Solo Instrumental) on the high-resolution platform NativeDSD.

The piano Peter Takács is performing on in this recording is a Hamburg Steinway D.