Saturday, March 9, 2019 Kreutzer Sonata, Dedicated to George Bridgetower

George Bridgetower

By Inesa Gegprifti

Fri Mar 8, 2019

On an evening where the headliner was world-renowned violinist Itzhak Perlman, his longtime pianist partner Rohan De Silva stood out for his astute and sensitive musicianship.

Thursday evening’s concert at the Adrienne Arsht Center was packed with an enthusiastic crowd. Perlman is recognized not only for his numerous awards and record of important concert venue appearances, but also for the sheer joy that emanates from his playing and his witty personality. Perlman and De Silva have been collaborating for many years, and their ease of communication and chemistry show in every phrase and gesture.

In a program of homages, the first half featured Alfred Schnittke’s Suite in the Old Style and Beethoven’s “Kreutzer” Sonata, Op. 47. Schnittke’s suite in five movements is a charming pastiche of the composer’s film music. Throughout, Schnittke loosely wears a Baroque mask portraying some of the archaic forms of the period with a fresh and individual tone.

Perlman and De Silva have the rare ability to seamlessly thread in and out of each other’s textures. They breathe and pace the musical phrases as one person. From the transparent “Pastorale,” “Minuetto” and “Pantomima” to the more contrapuntal “Fuga” and “Baletto,” the duo achieved impeccable balance and clarity of articulation.

Beethoven’s fiery persona has left a mark also in the history of his Violin Sonata No. 9. Originally dedicated to (and premiered by) violinist George Bridgetower, Beethoven later angrily changed the published dedication to the prominent French violinist Rodolphe Kreutzer, as the composer was displeased with Bridgetower’s commentary on the morals of a woman that Beethoven esteemed. As it turned out, Kreutzer never performed the sonata dedicated to him.

Beethoven’s impetuous nature prevails throughout the composition as well. The violin’s opening statement is a sprawling phrase, which is picked up by the piano and together they create a choral-like introduction. Beethoven’s mercurial character soon takes charge and virtuosic passages on both instruments perpetually carry the music forward.

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