Robert Schumann: Fantasiestücke für Violine und Klavier, Op. 73
Ernest Chausson: Poème for Violin and Piano, Op. 25
César Franck: Sonata for Violin and Piano in A major
One of the most typical forms of music making during the ‘Romantic’ 19th century was the private performance, usually in salons, of chamber or ‘room’ music. Everything was played and nearly everybody played: everyone from musically trained daughters to practicing musicians entertained themselves and each other as they played through piano transcriptions of symphonies, opera excerpts, simple duos and trios or light piano pieces. From time to time these musical gatherings witnessed traces of genius, such as happened in Franz Schubert’s small rented room, for example, where the most of the composer’s songs were first heard.
With its artistic and expressive weight, 19th century chamber music frequently outgrew its original confines. This certainly holds true for the works of Robert Schumann, who during a life full of ups and downs also fluctuated between his love for chamber and symphonic music. His pure and beautiful chamber music remains popular even today.
Chausson’s Poème is usually heard in the version for solo violin and orchestra, however due to its seductiveness and ‘dreamy sweetness’—as Claude Debussy put it—violinists love to play it on chamber music evenings with their pianist partners.
The famous Franck Sonata is just the opposite, ‘heavy’ as if it were a real symphony. It is compositionally and expressively so compact and complex, not to mention dramatically intense, that it frequently squeezes out the last ounce of strength from the performers. A persuasive performance tends to leave even listeners motionless on the edge of their seats.
We can certainly expect such an account from the performers on our concert, which features the extraordinary violinist Peter Matzka, concertmaster of the RSO Symphony Orchestra in Vienna, together with the seasoned pianist and our regular guest Christian Schmidt.
It will be an evening where we can give our imagination free rein…