Welcome to Hyperion Records, an independent British classical label devoted to presenting high-quality recordings of music of all styles and from all periods from the twelfth century to the twenty-first.
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What a humiliation for me when someone standing next to me heard a flute in the distance and I heard nothing, or someone heard a shepherd singing and again I heard nothing. Such incidents drove me to despair; much more of that and I would have ended my life—it was only my art that held me back.
And then, within a matter of weeks, he’d written his three violin sonatas Op 30, concluding with this one: a work described by the great violinist Josep Szigeti as a work of 'conflictless perfection'. What could be more effortlessly joyful than the exuberant, whirling flourish that opens the first Allegro assai, or more sunny than the bustling sonata-form movement that follows? Or more tenderly nostalgic than the long, searching melody that opens the second movement, the violin spinning its emotions out over the stately tread of the piano’s Tempo di menuetto (itself a throwback to a gentler age)?
As for the finale, it’s as if (once again) Beethoven is channelling the rustic high-spirits of his former master Haydn, that most generous of all composers. There’s roughness, and some deliciously spicy discords—but is it possible that a man who had weeks earlier been contemplating suicide could now simply stick his tongue out and laugh? It certainly sounds that way. 'I would have ended my life', Beethoven had written in the Testament; 'it was only my art that held me back.' Few works remind us more bracingly that when Beethoven said that he lived for music, he meant it.
from notes by Richard Bratby © 2020
|Beethoven: Violin Sonatas Nos 1, 5 & 8|
Beethoven’s twelve violin sonatas consistently push the bounds of writing for two quickly developing instruments on equal terms—possibilities Beethoven was ideally placed to understand as both violinist and pianist. The three sonatas on this recor ...» More