César Franck's sonata was dedicated to the Belgian vioinist virtuoso Ysaÿe, who bequeathed us a handful of wonderful old recordings from the early 1900s. The sonata is innovative in its recurring themes across the movements, and has an intimate quality never really captured by the recordings I have heard from Russian violinists. Kyung Wha Chung and Radu Lupu are sublimely gifted and underrated musicians, who capture the essence with astonishing beauty and some passion, playing in perfect partnership. Both are oustanding virtuosi who deny that epithet, preferring to be more modestly remembered for the musicianly qualities of their music making. Well, that's OK with me, but I just wish their refreshingly uncynical talents were more widely appreciated.
They play the Debussy Sonata excellently, though I find this wonderful piece falls under the shadow of the more profound Franck.
The only reason to buy this disc, rather than the superior coupling with the Ravel Introduction and Allegro (with Ossian Ellis and the Melos Ensemble), must be because you want to hear the intensely poignant Chausson Poème. Kyung-Wha Chung plays the Poème wonderfully, with ravishing pathos, an excellent recording and my favourite (though I often listen to Milstein's recording). At the time of writing this, Chung's Chausson can otherwise be obtained coupled with her stunning best-ever performance of the Saint-Saens 3rd Violin Concerto.