Discover something excitingly new about the great Beethoven, as violinist Miki Tsunoda and Team of Pianists partner Rohan Murray present an all-Beethoven program. The imaginatively named Ludwig – with Strings Attached is for one night only: Sunday August 21 at 6.30pm in the Ballroom at Rippon Lea.
Beethoven may have left only one violin concerto but there is a wealth of violin sonatas to be explored, as this next Team of Pianists concert will show. The duo’s chosen repertoire is from Beethoven’s opus 12 Sonatas for violin and piano in D major: no 1, A major Op 12 no 2, and E-flat major Op 12 no 3 by Ludwig van Beethoven. With a vivid interplay between the instruments and scintillating virtuosity, these sonatas are stunning examples of Beethoven’s early duo-writing genius.
About the works:
In the late 1770s through to the 1790s the violin/ piano sonata duo commenced a transformation that would arguably be completed in Beethoven’s late chamber works and through to the large scale Romantic sonatas of the 19th century. It seems clear that Beethoven was well familiar with the violin/ piano sonatas of Mozart and indeed, appears to quote Mozart’s E-minor sonata in the exposition of his third sonata.
Beethoven announced his now characteristic style of duo writing for the two instruments, but the works received mixed responses. The opus 12 sonatas of Beethoven were heavily criticised by some critics and once described as “nothing natural … no song … a striving for strange modulations … a heaping up of difficulties”. Performer Rohan Murray suggests “today’s listener may be more appreciative of the tonality and overall complexity of these works – and it is reported that the sonatas were largely better received by audiences than by critics at the time of their first performances in the late 1790s”.
A current initiative, the Beethoven Project goes further … Co-director, Birmingham-based pianist teacher, writer and festival director, Daniel Tong, has this to say:
“Only Mozart comes close [to Beethoven] in terms of a large-scale ‘cycle’, although there are later masterpieces by Schumann, Brahms, Franck, Bartók and others. As with so many of the genres that he touched, Beethoven set the standard to which all other composers aspired for many years afterwards.
“The Beethoven violin sonatas do not quite represent his whole life’s work. But, as always with this unique genius, the standard across the cycle is unwaveringly superb, often touching absolute greatness. They give a particular insight into Beethoven as a young man, full of confidence as composer and pianist, and blazing a trail for a new way forward.
“From the outset this is ‘pure’ music. Beethoven treats the two instruments with absolute equality, freely sharing almost all the material between them. And so what of the treasures within this particular cycle? In the witty and bold Op.12 set from the late 1790s, Beethoven announces himself (as he had already done with the piano trio and piano sonata) as a revolutionary and innovator.
“The first sonata could almost be a particularly grandiose work of Mozart, but the robust humour in the second is far more Haydnesque. One of the only times that Beethoven evokes the traditional ‘roles’ of the two instruments is to cock a snook and turn them on their head in op12 no2. Beethoven was increasingly concerned with such musical purity as his life unfolded.
“The third, in E flat, lifts the genre to a new, exalted level with its cascades of virtuosity in the brilliant opening.”
Read more about the violin sonatas or, even better, come to hear them! http://www.beethovenplus.com/beethoven-violin-sonatas/
One recital only – not to be missed!
About the performers:
Miki Tsunoda (pictured) is travelling from her home in Antwerp, to join Rohan Murray for this concert. Well-known to Melbourne audiences, the Japanese violinist lived in Melbourne for many years and was a founding member of Duo Sol (with Caroline Almonte) and the Binneas Quartet.
Since 2008 Tsunoda has held the position of Principal second violin with the Royal Flemish Philharmonic Orchestra in Antwerp and is a frequent guest with the Amsterdam Sinfonietta and Orchestre du Philharmonique Luxembourg.
Miki Tsunoda studied at the Liszt Academy in Budapest and the University of Toronto. As the First Prize Winner of the prestigious International Chamber Music Competition Premio Trio di Trieste, and other successes Duo Sol appeared in concert halls across the world and at home, and represented Australia in numerous events including the Australia-Japan Year of Exchange, World Expo in Aichi,Japan.
Tsunoda has collaborated with many of the world’s renowned musicians, with conductors including the late Hiroyuki Iwaki, Marcus Stenz and Xian Zhang. She has appeared with many Orchestras as soloist including Ensemble Kanazawa, Royal Flemish Philharmonic and the Melbourne and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestras.
Rohan Murray was the first candidate from the Victorian College of the Arts to undertake a PhD in performance, which was successfully completed in 2011. He is a member of the Golden Key Honour Society and was a grand finalist and prize-winner at the 2000 Australian Piano Award.
Rohan has performed as soloist with various Orchestras and has been the recipient of a number of awards and prizes. Rohan’s performances have been the subject of a number of CD recordings as well as broadcasts on 3MBS FM and ABC Classic FM. Rohan has collaborated with many of Australia’s finest musicians and has performed in a number of world premiere performances, including works by Kate Neal, Daniel Salecich and Brett Dean.
This story is a co-production of Classic Melbourne and the Team of Pianists, who supplied the information to the writer.