Maria Milstein & Nathalia Milstein – Saint-Saens, Debussy, Hahn & Pierne: La sonate de Vinteuil (2017) [Qobuz FLAC 24bit/88,2kHz]

Maria Milstein & Nathalia Milstein – Saint-Saëns, Debussy, Hahn & Pierné: La sonate de Vinteuil (2017) 
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/88,2 kHz  | Time – 01:05:38 minutes | 1,01 GB | Genre: Classical
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz | Booklet, Front Cover | © Mirare

One of the most famous musical enigmas in literature, the fictional Vinteuil Sonata at the heart of Marcel Proust’s magnum opus, In Search of Lost Time (À la recherche du temps perdu), is the inspiration for a new CD featuring sibling musicians Maria (violin) and Nathalia Milstein (piano).

Borletti-Buitoni Trust (BBT) Fellowship winner, Maria Milstein, held dear the idea of a recital based on the imaginary Vinteuil Sonata for some years and did not hesitate to make it a reality when awarded her BBT Fellowship in 2016. The Vinteuil Sonata is released on 27 October 2017 on the French Mirare label, supported by BBT.

There has been much speculation as to the origins of ‘the little phrase’ that bewitches Swann, the protagonist of the novel’s first volume. Where did Proust hear it? Or was it an amalgam of musical phrases he might have heard in the works of composers such as Saint-Saëns, Fauré or Debussy, performed in the Parisian salons of the Belle Époque that he frequented? Proust’s exquisite descriptions of the music and the elusive, ecstatic feelings it inspires continue to kindle the imaginations of performers to this day.

There is evidence that Proust once referred to Saint-Saëns as the composer behind the Vinteuil Sonata: a memorable ‘petite phrase’ occurs in the first and last movements of his Sonata for violin and piano No 1 in D minor, Op 75, exactly as Swann describes it. But, the same citation could be made in Gabriel Pierné’s sonata, a work that Proust may also have heard.

The additional works on this Proustian CD are also in keeping with the novel’s literary contemplations of lost time. The spirit of Debussy’s late sonata (the last major work he completed before he died) is very much that of a nostalgic reflection on a whole lifetime – the music, like words, searching for expression of intangible dreams, memories and desires. Finally, the two songs by Proust’s intimate friend Reynaldo Hahn, complement the sense of the quest for expression of fleeting reminiscence without words (the voice is replaced in the transcription by the violin).

In conjunction with the CD, a two short films will be released online featuring the Milstein duo in this repertoire, filmed by UNIK ACCESS (sound: Franck Jaffrès, image: Bénédicte Banet). The CD will be launched at a recital on 22 September at the Via Aeterna Festival in Mont Saint-Michel, France and there are also discussions underway for a future theatrical staging of The Vinteuil Sonata.


Gabriel Pierné (1863 – 1937)
1 Sonate pour violon et piano en Ré Mineur, Op. 36: I. Allegretto 09:06
2 Sonate pour violon et piano en Ré Mineur, Op. 36: II. Allegretto tranquillo 05:38
3 Sonate pour violon et piano en Ré Mineur, Op. 36: III. Andante non troppo. Allegretto un poco agitato 08:30

Hahn Reynaldo (1874 – 1947)
4 A Chloris 03:23

Camille Saint-Saëns (1835 – 1921)
5 Sonate pour violon et piano No. 1 en Ré Mineur, Op. 75: Allegro agitato 06:41
6 Sonate pour violon et piano No. 1 en Ré Mineur, Op. 75: Adagio 05:46
7 Sonate pour violon et piano No. 1 en Ré Mineur, Op. 75: Allegro moderato 03:59
8 Sonate pour violon et piano No. 1 en Ré Mineur, Op. 75: Allegro molto 06:04

Hahn Reynaldo
9 7 Chansons grises: V. L’Heure Exquise 02:36

Claude Debussy (1862 – 1918)
10 Sonate pour violon et piano, L. 140: I. Allegro vivo 04:53
11 Sonate pour violon et piano, L. 140: II. Intermède. Fantasque et léger 04:24
12 Sonate pour violon et piano, L. 140: III. Finale. Très animé 04:38

Maria Milstein, violin
Nathalia Milstein, piano