Updated: Nov 18, 2020
Hitomi Inujima and Sabrina Curpanen in “A major” evening, Saturday 25th March
Ludwig Van Beethoven (1770 – 1827)
Sonata for Violin and Piano op. 30 n. 1 in A major
Adagio molto espressivo
Allegretto con variazioni
Hitomi Inujima Violin
Sabrina Curpanen Piano
Ludwig Van Beethoven (1770 – 1827)
Sonata for Violin and Piano op. 47 n. 9 in A major “Kreutzer Sonata”
Adagio sostenuto – Presto
Andante con variazioni
Hitomi Inujima Violin
Sabrina Curpanen Piano
L. Van Beethoven: Violin Sonata in A major op. 30 n. 1
In summer 1802, on the advice of his latest doctor, Beethoven left the noisy city Vienna for the quiet countryside of Heiligenstadt with the assurance that the new environment would be beneficial to his hearing and his general health.
The Op. 30 Sonatas for Piano and Violin that Beethoven completed by the time he returned to Vienna in the middle of October 1802 belong to a new creative language, dynamic and dramatic musical speech that characterises the creations of his so-called "second period." It was also the time when Beethoven wrote the most famous letter ever written by a musician - the "Heiligenstadt Testament." It meant to be his will written to his brothers. Even if he never sent it to his family he decide to keep it in his papers and it has been found after his death. Beethoven 's fears and desperation can be read in his words:
"O Providence - grant me at last but one day of pure joy - it is so long since real joy echoed in my heart!"
In musical terms, the second period is based on a new method of composing: developing a small set of themes into long sections or even in an entire movement. This working method generates the main theme of the opening movement of the A major Sonata, in which most of the violin line and both hands of the piano are derived from either the quick turn figure or the flowing quarter-note. The second subject, a lyrical melody with a trill, provides thematic and tonal contrast with the first one.
The second theme and the turn figure provide most of the material for the development section. A full recapitulation of the exposition, adjusted to the original key, rounds out the movement.
About the Sonata's second movement, Jelly d'Aranyi, the brilliant Hungarian violinist who inspired works from Ravel, Bartók and Vaughan Williams, wrote, "The Adagio is a great favorite of mine. The blend of the two instruments is so perfect a thing.... The whole movement has such a feeling of tenderness and sorrow it reminds me, if I am allowed the comparison, of Michelangelo's Pietà, and his unfinished marvel, the Descent of the Cross. I do not want to suggest that this Adagio could be called religious music, I am only thinking in both cases of the expression of infinite tenderness and sorrow, whether put into sound or carved in stone."
The finale of op. 30 n. 1 is in the form of theme and variations. There are six variations and a Coda, with Variation V in the tonic minor and Variation VI in a classical popular dance style and a faster tempo. Variations I, II, III, IV make use of internal repeats and first/second time bar while the last two variations are fully written out. A bright, joyful variation is followed by another one in a more lyrical and intimate character. The ability of the performers is to clearly communicate these different feelings, taking the audience to this journey where the theme yet recognisable is gradually transformed through each variations.
L. Van Beethoven: Violin Sonata “Kreutzer” op. 47 n. 9
The Violin Sonata No. 9 op 47, commonly known as the Kreutzer Sonata, is considered one of the most demanding Violin and Piano Sonatas by Ludwig van Beethoven. Its unusual length (a typical performance lasts 40 minutes) and emotional contrast are a big challenge for the performers: the first movement is predominantly furious, the second is meditative and the third is joyous and exuberant.
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". ["Sonata for Piano and obligato violin in a very concertante style as a Concerto]. The two instruments are in a complete symbiosis and there is an active communications between Violin and Piano which doesn’t act as a simple accompaniment. The final movement of the work was originally written for another earlier sonata for violin and piano by Beethoven, the Op. 30, no. 1, in A major.
Beethoven gave no key designation to the work. Although the work is usually titled as being in A-major, the Austrian composer and music theoretician Gerhard Präsent has published articles indicating that the main key is in fact A-minor. Präsent has revealed interesting connections to the 6th violin sonata op.30/1, for which the third movement was originally composed, and he believes that the unusual opening bars for solo violin forms a kind of transition from the earlier sonata (or from its structural material), supporting the belief that the acquisition of the finale of Op. 30/1 for the "Kreutzer" was a compositional intention — and not a result of lack of time, as long suspected.
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 fool mulatto composer"]. Shortly after completion of the work at 4:30 am, it was premiered by Bridgetower and Beethoven himself on the 24th May 1803 at the Augarten Theatre in occasion of a Concert starting at 8:00am. Bridgetower sight-read the sonata; he had never seen the work before, and there had been no time for any rehearsal.
Beethoven is known for his irascible character and Bridgetower paid the consequences of the composer temper after that performance: 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 time. Funnily enough, Kreutzer never performed the work, considering it "outrageously unintelligible".
The piece is in three movements, and takes approximately 43 minutes to perform.
Adagio sostenuto – Presto (A major – A minor) following the classical Sonata form): the sonata opens with a slow 18 bars introduction, of which only the first four bars of the solo violin are in the A-Major-key. The piano enters, and the harmony begins to turn darker towards the minor key, until the main body of the movement — an angry A minor Presto— begins. Here, the piano part matches the violin's in terms of difficulty. Near the end, Beethoven brings back part of the opening Adagio, before closing the movement in an anguished coda.
Andante con variazioni (F major follows the Theme and Variations form): this movement represents a big contrast with the previous one in its meditative, warm tone and lyrical melody. The first variation transforms the theme into a lively triple meter and it is embellished with crispy trills. In the second variation, the violin plays the main role with its light and high notes recalling singing birds. The third variation, in F minor, returns to a darker and more meditative state. The fourth and final variation recalls the first and second variations with its light, ornamental, and elegant character.
Presto (A major following the Sonata form): the calm is broken by a crashing A major chord in the piano which introduces the virtuosity and exuberant third movement, a 6/8 tarantella in a sonata form. After moving through a series of slightly contrasting episodes, the theme returns for the last time, and the work ends jubilantly in a rush of A major.
"A terrible thing is that sonata [Beethoven’s Kreutzer Sonata], especially the presto!" Cit. L. Tolstoy - "The Kreutzer Sonata"[a novel in which someone hears that Sonata and later commits a murder].
Hitomi Inujima, Violinist
Japanese violinist Hitomi Inujima entered the Toho Gakuen School of Music at the age of 15. In 2015 she started her MA degree with Prof. Richard Deakin at the Royal Academy of Music where she is kindly supported by the Howard Davis scholarship.
In 2010 she won the second prize at the 46th Tokyo International Association of Artists Audition. In 2012 she played Tchaikovsky’s violin concerto with the Polish Silesian Philharmonic Orchestra. She was also a leader of the Toho Gakuen Orchestra at La Folle Journée music festival in Tokyo, and the Seiji Ozawa Orchestra Academy. She is also a member of Birmingham Royal Ballet Mentoring Scheme 2016-17.
Sabrina Curpanen, Pianist
As a versatile pianist, Sabrina enjoys performing as a soloist and as an accompanist around Europe including, Margherita Theatre in Caltanissetta, Pirandello Theatre in Agrigento (Italy), Steinway Hall, Italian Institute of Culture in London, the Italian-Irish Festival in Bobbio (Italy) and Lake District (UK). Her wide repertoire includes works by J. S. Bach, W. A. Mozart, L. Van Beethoven, J. Brahms, R. Schumann, F. Chopin, R. Strauss, B. Martinů, C. Debussy, A. Copland, R. Muczynski.
In 2011, she won the Second Prize at the National Competition in Viagrande (Catania) and in 2013 she was awarded the 1st Prize at the LPM International Competition for the Best Participants of the European Summer Masterclass.
Sabrina Curpanen completed her Undergraduate and Postgraduate Degrees in Piano Performance in 2005 and 2009 respectively at the Istituto Musicale "V. Bellini" in Caltanissetta, Sicily.
On summer 2016, Sabrina has successfully completed her MA in Piano Accompaniment with Distinction at the Royal Academy of Music.
Learn now also more about Ballades with our posts: