Lakewood Cultural Center Performing Arts Series
Benny Kim, violin; Anne Epperson, piano
Johann Sebastian Bach: Violin Sonata No. 4 in c minor, BMV 1017 16:05
Camille Saint-Saëns: Violin Sonata No. 1 in D minor, Op. 75 24:54 (1/31/07)
Also, Charley anticipates cellist Mary Artmann's recital this Friday in Pueblo.
Ludwig van Beethoven: "Allegro con brio" (1st movement) from String Quartet No.1 in F major, Op.18 7:05
Dmitri Shostakovich: "Allegretto" (1st movement) from String Quartet No.3 in F major, Op. 73 5:13
Veronika String Quartet
(Veronika Afanassieva and Karine Garibova, violins, Ekaterina Dobrotvorskaia, viola; Mary Artmann, cello)
CPR Performance Studio 10/1/09 MS
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750): Violin Sonata No. 4 in c minor, BMV 1017
I. Siciliano: Largo
In 1717 Bach assumed his new position as court conductor to Prince Leopold of Anhalt-Cöthen. “My gracious prince loved and understood music,” he later recalled. “I expected to end my days there at Cöthen.” Unfortunately, Prince Leopold later married a very unmusical woman and his interest in music would become, according to Bach, “somewhat tepid.”
Much of Bach’s instrumental music dates from his tenure at Cöthen (1717-1723), including a set of six sonatas for violin and keyboard, which probably date from sometime after 1720. Bach’s first biographer, Johann Nicolaus Forkel, said “they may be reckoned among Bach’s first masterpieces of this kind….The violin part demands a master. Bach knew the possibilities of this instrument, and spared it as little as he spared his clavier.”
The first five sonatas conform to the church sonata movement scheme: slow-fast-slow-fast. The violin’s melody in the opening of the fourth sonata anticipates the alto aria “Erbarme dich” from the St. Matthew Passion.
Writing in 1774, Bach’s son Carl Philipp Emanuel counted the sonatas “among the best works of the dear late father. They sound very good even now and give me much pleasure, regardless of the fact that they are over fifty years old. There are some adagios among them which one cannot compose more melodiously at the present time.”
Camille Saint-Saëns (1835-1921): Violin Sonata No. 1 in D minor, Op. 75
I. Allegro agitato--Adagio
II. Allegretto moderato--Allegro molto
“I live in music like a fish in water,” said Saint-Saëns. “I write music as an apple tree produces apples.” In an age when most French composers pursued opera, Saint-Saëns concentrated on instrumental music. Comparing himself to Georges Bizet, he remarked, “We pursue a different ideal, he seeking passion and life above all things, I running after the chimera of purity of style and perfection of form.” In 1871 Saint-Saëns founded the Société nationale de musique, whose purpose was to encourage French chamber music.
The first of his two violin sonatas was written in 1885 and dedicated to the Belgian violinist Martin-Pierre-Joseph Marsick. The two has just completed a recital tour of Switzerland and the sonata was probably a thank-you gift.
The work has two movements, each with two sections. In his liner notes to James Ehnes’s recording, Don Anderson writes, “The first half of the opening movement is restless and dramatic, lightened by a runny second theme. It segues into an Adagio of exceptional lyric sweetness. The second movement opens with a lightly dancing, scherzo-like section; a series of solemn piano chords heralds the steeple-chase virtuoso excitement of the finale.”