Schumann’s three Violin Sonatas all date from his last years in Düsseldorf. In those four years he composed no less than fifty compositions including a huge amount of chamber music for his wife Clara to perform at home with their many musical friends.The Third Sonata has a strange history as the Intermezzo and Finale began life as the 3rd and 4th movements of the FAE Sonata that Schumann, Brahms and Dietrich composed as a birthday present for their mutual friend, the violinist Joseph Joachim, whose motto was Frei aber einsam.
Later Schumann wrote his own extra movements to create this unusual Sonata that was ignored for centuries as those extra movements were among the last works he created before his incarceration in the Asylum in Endenich. It was felt that his late music was in some way tainted by his mental breakdown whereas modern sensibilities are much more attuned to music on the edge. Beethoven’s great A minor quartet was composed to celebrate his recovery from illness, a song of thanksgiving that is one of the great slow movements in quartet literature.