On August 20, the violin and piano duo of Judith Ingolfsson and Vladimir Stoupel released an exciting new CD (OC 491). Recorded at the Jesus-Christus-Kirche in Berlin-Dahlem—a space with superb acoustics—the repertoire on this Oehms Classic CD features sonatas for violin and piano by Karol Rathaus (1895-1954), Heinz Tiessen (1887-1971), and Paul Arma (1905-1987). These three Mitteleuropa composers—Rathaus being born to Polish-Jewish family in Tarnopol, Tiessen hailing from Königsberg in East Prussia, and Arma a native of Budapest—studied in Vienna, Berlin and Budapest with such masters as Franz Schreker or Bela Bartók.
The Composers and Works
Ingolfsson-Stoupel Duo open their CD presentation with the Op. 14 Sonata for Violin and Piano by Karol Rathaus. Well-crafted, expressionist and dark in turns, this rhapsodic and highly emotive three-movement work was premiered in Berlin in 1926 with Rathaus at the piano joined by his violinist friend, Stefan Frenkel.
The Sonatas by Rathaus and Tiessen (who were also friends in Berlin) both date from 1925. Paul Arma’s Sonata for Violin and Piano was composed in 1949 in Paris, well after the composer’s harrowing ordeal in Germany that included a mock Gestapo execution and burning of his manuscripts in the early 1930s. The Ingolfsson-Stoupel Duo’s interpretation of Arma’s work has already attracted positive reviews in Pizzicato Magazine—“the two performers performed the premiere recording of this impressive Sonata with great commitment”—and a headline, “You can only hear well with the heart,” in the Global Happenings news site.
By presenting the world premiere recording of Tiessen’s and Arma’s Sonatas for Violin and Piano, this CD fulfills an important mission of bringing music by lesser-known but worthy composers to the public.
Ingolfsson and Stoupel are both accomplished soloists whose keen interest in less-explored areas of chamber music repertoire had won them a worldwide recognition and appreciation. Their duo CDs of music by Szymon Laks (EDA, 2010), as well as Stravinsky, Shostakovich, and various early 20th century French composers led to a number of nominations for ICMA and German Recording Critics’ awards and prizes. The Ingolfsson-Stoupel Duo also co-chairs music festivals in southern France and Berlin.