Ysaye Solo Sonata No 4
Schnittke Sonata No 1
Messiaen Last Movement from the Quartet for the End of Time
Dvorak Songs My Mother Taught Me
Joshua Peckins, violin
Eliko Akahori, piano
From the most passionate and expressive sonatas, to dazzlingly virtuosic showpieces, to intimate and lyrical salon pieces written for simple pleasure – Art of the Recital programs present a wide range of experiences for listeners, all celebrating the wide artistic potential of the violin and piano.
Music is poetry, but sometimes music literally is poetry. Looking over the musical scores for this program, I am in awe of the beauty, emotion, and clarity of the words written by these composers. The Messiaen begins with instructions to the musicians: “Extremely slow and tender, ecstatic, expressive, as if in paradise.” (What a way to begin the day, as I pick up my violin and bow to practice!) Franck inspires and delights us with instructions including, “With all your strength!” “Dramatic!” and, my personal favorite, “With fantasy!” These are but a few selections from this powerful program, titled Liberation!
The 31-year-old Messiaen wrote his “Quartet for the End of Time” as a prisoner of war in Germany. Premiered in 1941 by three of his fellow prisoners and Messiaen himself, the final movement (Louange à l’Immortalité de Jésus) is for violin and piano alone, and reflects back to us all that is pain and all that is freedom. Hauntingly beautiful, this piece demonstrates the power of music to transcend mere “entertainment,” and helps us discover new beauties and imagine new possibilities for the human experience.
Fiercely human and personal, the Schnittke Sonata has long been celebrated as a masterwork, yet many audience members may have the first chance to hear it live. If you have attended recent Art of the Recital performances, you will remember Schnittke’s “Suite in the Old Style,” as well as a variety of shorter salon pieces. This is a chance to discover one of Schnittke’s more substantial works, and to learn more about this important Russian composer.
The Franck Sonata needs little introduction to those who know it – it is one of the most beloved pieces in the recital repertoire. With its sweeping arcs of feeling and profound range of sounds and colors, it is emotion and passion embodied in sound.
The Solo Ysaÿe Sonata is famous not only for its dazzling virtuosity, but also for its depth of feeling. An interesting twist of programming, Franck dedicated his Violin Sonata to Ysaÿe – so you will have a chance to hear memories of the virtuoso violinist who inspired Franck!