Sunday, December 18, 2011

WDBX Blog: Beethoven wrote the 'Sonata No. 9 for Violin and Piano, Op. 47' for a noted virtuoso of Afro-Polish descent

[George Bridgetower]

The Blogapus
A community radio station for southern Illinois run by volunteers and supported by donations, underwriting, and the WDBX community thrift store.”

Dec. 12

“After the conclusion of Messiah, we moved over to the music of Ludwig van Beethoven, whose birthday is this coming Friday (Dec. 16th). The Sonata No. 9 for Violin and Piano, Op. 47, often referred to as the “Kreutzer Sonata”, was written in 1803 for the British violinist George Bridgetower, who premiered it with Beethoven on piano-forte in May of that year. Bridgetower, a noted virtuoso of Afro-Polish descent, sight-read the piece without having even seen it before, making a slight modification which Beethoven enthusiastically accepted. But Bridgetower fell out of favor with Beethoven by insulting a woman who turned out to be a friend of the composer. Beethoven removed the dedication, and rededicated it to another violin virtuoso, Rudolphe Kreutzer, who refused to play it on account of it having already been played by Bridgetower, declaring it incomprehensible and unplayable. Indeed, it is a challenge for a violinist – Beethoven frequently wrote without consideration of the difficulty in playing what was written, famously telling one complaining virtuoso, 'What do I care for your miserable fiddle when the spirit moves me?' Tonight’s performance is a 1998 recording, with Itzhak Perlman on violin and Martha Argerich on piano, recorded live at the Chamber Music International Festival at Saratoga, NY.” [GeorgeAugustus Polgreen Bridgetower (1780-1860) is featured at on a page researched and written by Prof. Dominique-René de Lerma,]

Comment on The Blogapus:
This actually is not the first time I've mentioned George Bridgetower in one of my blogs. This connection between Bridgetower and Beethoven has come up before. Naturally, given the intent of this show and the general interest I have in the history of music and music performance, I am pleased to highlight persons like Bridgetower.  dougflummer

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