Richard Strauss left only five instrumental chamber works, among them an 1887 sonata for violin. Strauss valued the piece highly, performing it himself well into the 1930s. Written just one year before the tone poem Don Juan, it unfolds expressive characteristics of his future operas and symphonic poems. Bartók's Sonata for Violin and Piano was composed in 1903 and premiered in Budapest with Hungarian violinist Jenő Hubay. At the time Bartók was studying piano at the Budapest Academy with István Thomas, a pupil of Liszt, and the latter's influence as well as that of Strauss are evident throughout the piece.
"Ambartsumian produces some seamless legato playing and phrases beautifully…. A highly musical, thoughtful and well-played account…. Bartók's Sonata for Violin and Piano Op.18 receives a far more idiomatic performance. The quasi-romantic harmonies combined with typically Hungarian folk-inflections appears to suit these performers well."—MusicWeb, UK