Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Australian: 'Tale of love and spite bears more fruit' in 'Kreutzer vs Kreutzer'

[Richard Tognetti with British playwright Laura Wade, who wrote the dramatic narrative to Kreutzer vs Kreutzer. Picture: Sam Mooy; Source: The Australian]

Ashleigh Wilson
From: The Australian
November 11, 2010
THE story begins in 1803. Beethoven was in Vienna, performing the premiere of his new sonata with a violinist he admired named George Bridgetower. At the top of the work, the composer wrote a dedication to his friend: 'Sonata per uno mulaticco lunattico.' Two years later, he removed Bridgetower's name and dedicated it to another violinist, Rodolphe Kreutzer, who went on to declare the piece unplayable.

“Beethoven and Bridgetower had fallen out over a woman. Two centuries later, no one knows exactly what happened between them. But in Sonata Mulattica, a fictional account published last year of Bridgetower's life, American poet Rita Dove uses the few facts known about the Afro-Polish violinist to explore the story of his life.” “Intense emotions were revisited almost 90 years after Beethoven and Bridgetower parted ways when Leo Tolstoy wrote The Kreutzer Sonata.” “Tolstoy, in turn, prompted Leos Janacek to write a string quartet in 1923 called the Kreutzer Sonata.”

“Three renowned works of art, one giving life to the other, all drawing on intense romantic emotions: these were the ingredients that appealed to Richard Tognetti, artistic director of the Australian Chamber Orchestra, and sparked his imagination. 'I've always been intrigued by the three elements,' Tognetti says. 'It struck us that no one had really tied the three together.' The ACO's new project, Kreutzer vs Kreutzer, aims to do just that, combining the three works into a creation that features music and words.

Kreutzer vs Kreutzer is at Newcastle tonight; Canberra, Saturday; Melbourne, Sunday and November 15; Adelaide, November 16; Perth, November 17; Brisbane, November 22; and Sydney, November 20, 21, 23 and 24. [Prof. Dominique-René de Lerma's scholarly article on the life and music of George Augustus Polgreen Bridgetower (1780-1860) is found at]

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