Saturday, November 7, 2020

Australian Broadcasting Corporation: Beethoven 250: Beethoven's 'Kreutzer' Sonata and more [Sonata was first dedicated to George Bridgetower]

George Augustus Polgreen Bridgetower (1780-1860)

Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Beethoven's 'Kreutzer' Sonata and more

Fri 6 Nov 2020

"The Mount Olympus for all who perform it..."

International violin superstar Midori isn't alone in thinking Beethoven's 'Kreutzer' Sonata is a tough mountain to climb.

Beethoven wrote the Violin Sonata No.9 for his friend, the violinist George Bridgetower. The pair gave the premiere, but then had a falling out when Bridgetower made some rude remarks about a woman Beethoven cared for very deeply (they'd been drinking, apparently). Instead of patching things up, Beethoven re-dedicated the sonata to the famous violinist, Rudolphe Kreutzer, who basically hated the piece and refused to play it.

It's no wonder: the piece would have felt totally alien and bizarre at the time. It's also fiendishly difficult, and not just for the violinist.

Early keyboard specialist Erin Helyard features in today's recording.

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