BEETHOVEN DAYS In Honour of Annie Fischer
BEETHOVEN: Sonata for Cello and Piano in A major, Op. 69
BEETHOVEN: Sonata for Violin and Piano in A major (‘Kreutzer’), Op. 47
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BEETHOVEN: String Quartet in A minor, Op. 132
DénesVárjon piano, MiklósPerényi cello, AndrásKeller violin
Steven Isserlis, one of the greatest cellists of the modern day, believes that of all the Beethoven sonatas for cello and piano the one in A major is foremost in its genre, giving as it does equal roles to both instruments. In the work, one cannot find a trace of the struggle so characteristic of Beethoven: with its happy tone, it is a perfect example of the balance of Viennese Classicism. The Kreutzer Sonata for violin and piano presents extreme technical challenges to its performers, while its length and emotional overwroughtness do the same for the audience – naturally, in the best sense. The dedication is to violinist Rodolphe Kreutzer, who, however, never performed it, saying it was “outrageously unintelligible”. The piano parts in both sonatas are performed by Dénes Várjon (who is also known as leader of his own chamber music festival), joined by living Hungarian legend Miklós Perényi and artistic director of Concerto Budapest, András Keller. The piece that closes this recital, String Quartet in A minor, was composed by Beethoven after recovering from a lengthy illness. The inscription to the third movement commemorates this: ‘Holy song of thanksgiving of a convalescent to the Deity, in the Lydian mode’. This movement was to have a great influence on later composers, Bartók included, who evokes it virtually note for note at the start of Piano Concerto No. 3.