The two works on this album show the side of Franck that is often ignored: not the diligent teacher, dedicated church organist - the unwordly saint of music - but the profane which balances the sacred. These are uninhibited, full-blooded works that shocked even Madame Franck.
The passion may be less naked in the Violin Sonata but it is there nonetheless, and that work links back to the piano Trio, op 1 No 1 in its use of cyclic form. This is a method of constructing a work by a process of musical evolution. Initial cells, motifs or themes, are developed and transformed to recur in new guises throughout.
The Trio in F sharp minor is the music of an ardent young man, somewhat introspective and obsessive, but also impetuous. The first movement is a mixture of solemn march and lament, with moments of rapt lyricism. The cyclic theme is introduced a little way in, first on the piano and then taken up by the strings. The second is a scherzo with two trio sections, and is linked to the last movement by the cello. The music of this movement by the cello. The music of the movement is more theatrical and flamboyant and of the style that would have been expected by the audience of the time.
The Violin Sonata dates from the other end of Franck’s life and is a mature and glorious masterpiece of cyclic form, based on just two musical cells: the intervals of a third and semitone found in the first entry of the violin. There is an abiding freshness to the work, which has much to do with the range of moods that Franck encompasses.