Live recording from a recital at the Wigmore Hall, London (14th June 2015)
Lana Trotovšek, violin
Simon Lane, piano
meditation from souvenir d'un lieu cher
violin sonata no. 3 in d minor op. 108
fratres for violin and piano
concert fantasy on gershwin's porgy and bess
The Méditation was written between 23 and 25 March 1878, in Clarens, Switzerland, where Tchaikovsky wrote his Violin Concerto. It was originally intended as the slow movement of the concerto, but he realised it was too slight for a concerto, so he discarded it and wrote a Canzonetta instead.
Since the late 1970s, Pärt has worked in a minimalist style that employs his self-invented compositional technique, tintinnabuli. His music is in part inspired by Gregorian chant.
Structurally, Fratres consists of a set of eight or nine chord sequences, separated by a recurring percussion motif. The chord sequences themselves follow a clear pattern, and while the progressing chords explore a rich harmonic space, they nevertheless appear to have been generated by means of a simple formula. The first version for string quintet and wind quintet (early music ensemble) was written by Pärt in 1977. Further versions were written over the years leading up to about 1992. It exists most prominently in its versions for solo violin, string orchestra, percussion, and for violin and piano
Fratres has been called: "Mesmerising set of variations on a six-bar theme combining frantic activity and sublime stillness that encapsulates Pärt's observation that 'the instant and eternity are struggling within us”
In 1926 Gershwin read PORGY, DuBose Heyward's novel of the South Carolina Gullah culture, and immediately recognized it as a perfect vehicle for a "folk opera" using blues and jazz idioms. PORGY AND BESS (co-written with Heyward and Ira) was Gershwin's most ambitious undertaking, integrating unforgettable songs with dramatic incident.
The Concert Fantasy on Themes from Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess contains various changes of mood and a multitude of virtuosic passages for the violin, before the brilliant coda concludes this challenging fantasy, popular with both performers and audiences. Igor Alexandrovich Frolov was born in Moscow in 1937. His father was a violin teacher and conductor, who also held the position of first violin in the State Radio Symphony Orchestra, his mother was an accompanist at the Moscow Conservatory in the class of David Oistrakh. At the age of five he began studying with a well-known Soviet pedagogue Boris Belenky. At the Moscow Conservatory, where he continued his studies with one of the founders of the Soviet violin school, Abram Yampolsky, he completed his musical education in the class of David Oistrakh in 1965. Frolov never studied composition formally. His first attempt of composition was a new cadenza to Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 5 on the advice of Oistrakh.
Brahms’ three violin sonatas are all extraordinary masterpieces that occupy their own rarefied world of elegant construction, romantic sweep and exquisite beauty. The designation of “Sonata for Piano and Violin” significantly expresses the equal partnership of both instruments in this chamber music for two. While the violin often sings first and foremost, Brahms frequently switches the parts giving theme and accompaniment a deeper sounding through new sonorities and “inverted” textures. The two parts generally imitate, echo and intertwine for a balanced chamber unity with ample lyricism and virtuosity for both players.
Brahms spent the summer of 1886 at Lake Thun in Switzerland. He had just completed his Fourth Symphony, and now – in a house from which he had a view of the lake and a magnificent glacier – he turned to chamber music. That summer he completed three chamber works and began the Violin Sonata in D Minor, but he put the sonata aside while he wrote the Zigeunerlieder (“Gypsy Songs”) and Double Concerto for Violin and Cello, grumbling that writing for stringed instruments should be left to “someone who understands fiddles better than I do.” He returned to Lake Thun and completed his final violin sonata in the summer of 1888.