A Kreutzer from Kulibaev and Kondratiev that had us all on our feet after a three day tour de force of the complete piano and violin Sonatas of Beethoven.
Even the collection of Roman masks in this Museo Campano seemed to have a smile on their rather severe faces in this unique location .
Capua,a city that can boast 100 churches and a collection of Roman coins and effigies which is the envy of the world .
A Beethoven project which includes all the cello sonatas too that Antonino Cascio has programmed in his Autunno musicale series.
A full house here and at the nearby Reggio di Caserta with people obviously wanting more.
An eleventh sonata was not on the cards but the last movement of the G major sonata op.30 n.3 was!
It is the one in which Kreisler had got lost in his performance with Rachmaninov (it is a famous recording too ).
‘Where are we ?’ whispered the most loved of all violinists ‘Carnegie Hall’intoned the straight faced Rachmaninov!
No problem for this disciple of Zakhar Bron especially when the duo with Prof. Ilya Kondratiev had created a single glorious voice of such potency.
The Violin Sonata No. 6 in A major op.30 n.1, the first of his Opus 30 set, was composed between 1801 and 1802, published in May 1803,and dedicated to Tsar Alexander 1 of Russia.
- Adagio molto espressivo
- Allegretto con variazioni
The Sonata op 30 n.1 where the Allegro immediately established a scintillating play between the violin and piano with such subtle phrasing.Each player trying to out do the other with superb musicianship and control that led to a continual musical conversation that kept the audience spellbound throughout the recital.There was an uninterrupted flow of mellifluous beauty in the Adagio as the melodic line was passed first from the violin to the piano.Whispered beauty from the violin too was answered with a such refined accompaniment from the piano.The finale that Beethoven had substituted for the Kreutzer was of a pastoral freshness.There was some truly virtuoso playing from the piano in the very first variation and just the start of a real question and answer between these two extraordinary musicians.The coda was of a ‘joie de vivre’ that was quite ravishing.
The Violin Sonata No. 3 in E flat major op.12 n.3 , the third of his Opus 12 set, was written in 1798 and dedicated to Antonio Salieri .
- Allegro con spirito
- Adagio con molta espressione – in C major
- Rondo: Allegro molto
There was such effervescence in the Allegro con spirito which contrasted with the Adagio that was played with great intensity.The infectious rhythmic energy of the Rondo brought this early sonata to a brilliant end.
The Violin Sonata No. 9, in A major op.47 was written in 1803 and is notable for its technical difficulty , unusual length and emotional scope. It is commonly known as the Kreutzer Sonata after the violinist Rodolphe Kreutzer , to whom it was ultimately dedicated, but who thoroughly disliked the piece and refused to play it
In the composer’s 1803 sketchbook, the work was titled “Sonata per il Pianoforte ed uno violino obligato in uno stile molto concertante come d’un concerto” The final movement was originally written for the Sonata n.6 op 30 n.1 .
The sonata was originally dedicated to the violinist George Bridgetower (1778–1860) as “Sonata mulattica composta per il mulatto Brischdauer [Bridgetower], gran pazzo e compositore mulattico” (Mulatto Sonata composed for the mulatto Brischdauer, great madman mulatto composer).Though Beethoven had barely completed the sonata it received its first public performance at a concert in the Augarten on 24 May 1803 at 8:00 am,with Beethoven on piano and Bridgetower on violin. Bridgetower had to read the violin part of the second movement from Beethoven’s copy, over his shoulder.
He made a slight amendment to his part, which Beethoven gratefully accepted, jumping up to say “Noch einmal, mein lieber Bursch!” (“Once more, my dear fellow!”). George Bridgetower was born in Poland of a West Indian father described as an African Prince and German mother described as a Polish lady of quality.They were probably both in service!
George showed considerable talent while still a child and gave successful violin concerts in Paris,London,Bath and Bristol in 1789. In 1791, the Prince Regent , the future King George IV, took an interest in him and oversaw his musical education.He performed in the Philharmonic Society of London’s first season in 1813, leading the performance of Beethoven’s Quintet,and subsequently married Mary Leech Leeke in 1816. He later travelled abroad, particularly to Italy , where his daughter lived. He died in 1860 in Peckham , south London and is buried in Kensal Green Cemetery.After the premiere performance, Beethoven and Bridgetower fell out.While the two were drinking, Bridgetower apparently insulted the morals of a woman whom Beethoven cherished. Enraged, Beethoven removed the dedication of the piece, dedicating it instead to Rodolphe Kreutzer , who was considered the finest violinist of the day.After its successful premiere in 1803, the work was published in 1805 as Beethoven’s Op. 47, with its re-dedication to Rudolphe Kreutzer, which gave the composition its nickname. Kreutzer never performed the work, considering it “outrageously unintelligible”. He did not particularly care for any of Beethoven’s music, and they only ever met once, briefly.
The concentration of Erzhan before striking the solo opening declaration was like a climber contemplating Everest before the ascent!There was a feeling as the pianist too replied with flourishes of nobility and grandeur that we were about to hear something very special.These are two superb musicians who have already given some recitals together in London but have never contemplated a complete cycle of Beethoven until persuaded by the indomitable Antonino Cascio to play them this weekend in Capua.
They will repeat the cycle in Thailand in December before inevitably embarking on tours of the capital cities of the musical world.Here they were now at the end of a third day immersed in Beethoven surrounded by Romanic history and about to climb Everest together.And what an exhilarating journey it was too with the sudden burst of electric energy after the opening nobility of the Adagio sostenuto.Amazing outbursts of virtuosity from both players but also the heart rending beauty of the second subject played so aristocratically by the violin and mirrored by the sublime beauty of the melodic line in octaves on the piano.But then the crazy outbursts of energy and the knotty twine of the development where they managed to play as one even in the most intricate of passages.The sudden burst of energy in the coda was breathtaking coming after the serene rest of the Adagio chords that preceded it.It was in fact the continual unexpected contrasts that had led Maestro Kreutzer to consider it simply ‘outrageously unintelligible’.There was an ideal tempo set by Ilya in the Andante and the beauty of his playing and the mellifluous unwinding of the trills was matched by the simplicity and aristocratic style of Erzhan.A first variation in which the violin just comments on the elaborate piano part.Of course the second variation given to the violin with the repeated violin notes played not only ‘leggiermente’ as the composer asks but with a shape and rhythmic impulse all sotto voce and staccato that is a real tour de force of technical prowess.The deep communing between them in the minor was answered by their ravishing interplay in the major.It showed the absolute mastery of Beethoven who could create so much from so little as is evident also in the 3rd and 4th piano concertos of this same period.The interplay between these two artists in the coda reached such sublime heights that the slap of the fortissimo A major .It was the opening cry of the Presto and was like a stroke of lightening before the ferocious cat and mouse of the infamous rhythmic propulsion of this final exhilarating movement.A technical mastery from both players,having shared this long three day journey together ,could now let their hair down (metaphorically speaking dear Erzhan ).An ‘all or nothing’ performance that brought this complete panorama of masterworks of a genius to a truly thrilling ending .