Comparing and contrasting two monumental violin sonatas by great composers from entirely separate generations can be a fascinating exercise, but in this case only yields incidental relationships. Richard Strauss’s Sonata in E-flat major Op. 18 can be considered a youthful work but, given the extra impetus of inspiration gained from new-found love in his future wife the singer Pauline de Ahna, this is also an uncompromisingly demanding piece which saw the composer at the top of his game at this point in his development. Robert Schumann’s Second Violin Sonata emerged after frustration in his failure to establish himself as a conductor in Du?sseldorf but during a period of ongoing compositional productivity before his final illness took hold. Written almost immediately after the First Violin Sonata it can be seen as the big brother to its predecessor; taking the genre further, the trained muscles now set for even more ambitious musical exploration.