Beethoven, Ludwig Van / Violin Sonatas (Barbara Govatos, Violin; Marcantonio Barone, Piano), The
Beethoven composed his first three violin sonatas, Op. 12, in 1797-98, six more by 1803 and the last in 1812. In the first five, piano and violin are nearly equal partners, but the violin dominates in the last five. Violins were changing in this period and B made increasing demands on the instrument as time passed. Sonata no. 1, Op. 12 brings new vigor and urgency to the violin sonata genre and novel excursions into remote tonalities, with B’s rough humor in the last mvmt. Sonata no. 2, Op. 12 has a jocular tone, with a lyrical melancholy theme in the slow mvmt, but a high-spirited conclusion. Sonata no. 3, Op. 12 conveys grandeur, power and majesty, with near-heroic piano writing. The middle mvmt is luxurious, and the finale joyous. Sonata no. 4, Op. 22 “is one of the most exciting pieces that amateur or professional can play.” It is unusual in being in a minor key, opening in 6/8 meter presto, introducing new themes within development sections, and having a playful middle mvmt. The 3rd mvmt’s wealth of episodes contrast in mood, texture, key, dynamic level and register. Sonata no. 5, Op. 24 (Spring), the most popular of the set, begins to bid farewell to the genteel world of classicism – graceful themes, transparent textures and traditional accompaniment figures, introducing robustness and bolder spirit. It opens lyrically; the 2nd mvmt anticipates Schubert’s deep expressiveness. Sonata no. 6, Op. 30, no. 1 gives the piano’s left and right hands separate voices, creating three strands of intertwining melody. The slow mvmt is ravishingly beautiful, and the final mvmt is variations on a folkloric theme. Sonata no. 7, Op. 30, no. 2 is “one of the grandest in the violinist’s repertory. It is a work of drama, passion, power and almost symphonic scope.” The 1stmvmt opens darkly mysterious, but the 2nd theme is playful. The slow mvmt is quite beautiful, and the scherzo mvmt witty and quirky, while the finale is tense and dramatic. Sonata no. 8, Op. 30, no. 3 is the “charmer” of Op. 30, with untroubled emotions and lively spirits. Sonata no. 9, Op. 47 (Kreutzer) “is the grandest and most impressive of them all. It is by far the longest, is the most difficult, [and] contains the richest textures”. The slow introduction signals a grand, imposing work. The middle mvmt theme is lofty, elegant and noble. The finale flaunts the rhythmic frenzy of the tarantella. Sonata no. 10, Op. 96 is more intimate and restrained in tone, with gentler sonorities and avoidance of drama and heroics. The slow mvmt is “an adagio of ineffable beauty and restrained exaltation.” The scherzo is jocular, and the finale’s theme is folksy, with good humor. [quotes from: http://vanrecital.com/2012/05/program-notes-the-beethoven-project].