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Johann van Beethoven first became aware of his son Ludwig's aptitude for music when the latter was amusing himself by 'scraping at' a violin. After lessons from his father, the boy was also taught by his cousin Franz Rovantini and became a string player of sufficient skill to play the viola in the Bonn opera orchestra from 1789 onwards. Between the ages of 20 and 24 he set down on paper his earliest compositions for violin and keyboard: a sonata in A major that remained unpublished (Hess 46), 12 variations on an aria from Le nozze di Figaro published in 1793 (WoO 40), a rondo in G major written in 1794 but only released to Simrock for publication much later, in 1808 (WoO 41), and six German dances composed in Prague in 1796 for the Countesses Thun (WoO 42). However, these pieces cannot rival the ten sonatas for violin and piano composed between 1797 and 1812 which Isabelle Faust and Alexander Melnikov have long cherished the prospect of recording. The behind-the-scenes bonus documentary filmed on this occasion, gives an insight into the impressive work on documentation and interpretation that enabled them to get as close as possible to the composer's intentions.
Beethoven: Violin Sonata #1 In D, Op. 12/1 - 1. Allegro Con Brio
Beethoven: Violin Sonata #1 In D, Op. 12/1 - 2. Tema Con Variazioni: Andante Con Moto
“…the most stimulating and fascinating accounts of the Beethoven violin sonatas I have heard in many years. Isabelle Faust and Alexander Melnikov bring out the full quirkiness of the earlier works as well as their beauty, and their playing is remarkably accomplished throughout.”
27 September 2009
CD of the Week
“Outstanding, and essential listening.”
“A triumph of probing musicianship that sets new standards in the digital era.”
“a remarkable set of recordings: Beethoven’s music can be tragic, elegiac, profound, but it can also make you want to clap for joy, and here these two have the heart of it.”
“The musical sleight of hand used by these expert players to focus the very different character of each sonata is in itself cause for wonder. Though quite different as musical personalities...the combination of the two fires a laser between the staves...A marvellous set.”
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