On the last day of the festival, young talent is extra in the spotlight Sun. Not only during the New Generation concert Artists later today, but also during this lunch break concert from three top talents who were prize winners in 2022 from several competitions. Isobel Warmelink won the Oskar Back Prize during the Netherlands Violin Competition, Jeremias Fliedl is laureate of the famous Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels and Nikola Meeuwsen won the Grachtenfestival Prize.
In addition to well-known masterpieces for orchestra such as the Boléro and La the successful French composer Maurice Ravel also wrote a lot piano music and chamber music works. His Sonata for Violin and Cello is perhaps the most beautiful duo for these two string instruments that was ever written. The work is dedicated to Ravel’s thirteen years older colleague and compatriot Claude Debussy, with whom he had a complex relationship. On the one hand, he admired Debussy and is his influence clearly audible in his own works, on the other hand he wanted prove that he was not a ‘follower of Debussy’ but that he was, on the contrary, a developed his own musical style. Conversely was Debussy admittedly impressed by his younger colleague, he also noticed Ravel as a competitor. In 1920 Ravel (like Bartók, De Falla and Satie) was asked to contribute to the magazine La Revue musicale that would appear in December of that year. The edition contained a supplement in which Debussy, who died in 1918 extensively commemorated. Ravel sent in the first part of what would later become his four-movement Sonata for violin and cello. A months after the publication of the magazine, the same first part sounded during a Debussy memorial concert on January 24, 1921 in Paris, performed by violinist Hélène Jourdan-Morhange and cellist Maurice Marshal. Both musicians would also receive the premiere playing of the complete Sonata for violin and cello on April 6 1922. About the preparatory rehearsals in the presence of the composer the violinist wrote some interesting things in her memoirs. Among other things, about the beginning of the second part, which stands out thanks to the swinging pizzicati. Ravel apparently attached great importance to it these pizzicatos “absolutely rhythmic and perfectly in sync play, so as not to interrupt the long line too much”. And about the deployment of the first Rondo theme in the last movement (probably inspired by Basque folk music) Ravel is said to have said that “the bow must jump like a mechanical rabbit”. “I think that this sonata marks a turning point in my career,” wrote Ravel himself to a friend. “The music is stripped down to the bone, the suggestion of harmony is rejected and the emphasis always comes to lie more on the melody.” The sonata is indeed full of beautiful poetic melodies, interspersed with striking rhythms and bright pizzatos. And so an extremely interesting, eloquent one emerges dialogue. Or as Ravel claimed: “a symphony for two instrumentalists”.
The Czech composer Antonín Dvořák had a great predilection for string instruments. As a boy he already played Bohemian folk music on his little violin, later he became a professional altist and violinist and he composed a lot of chamber music for his favorite instruments. Also the attractive string parts are in orchestral works prove that he loved strings. In addition to fourteen string quartets and quite a few other chamber music works strings only (such as the 1887 Terzetto that last night op the program) Dvořák also wrote six piano trios of which four have been preserved. The Piano Trio No. 4, op. 90 ‘Dumky’ is best known and has been since its premiere on April 11, 1891, with the composer himself behind the piano, very much to this day beloved. Dvořák would perform it no fewer than forty times during his farewell concerts in Bohemia and Moravia, before he died in 1892 left for the United States to become director of the National Conservatory of Music of America in New York. It ‘Dumky’ trio does not consist of the usual four parts at the time, only six ‘dumky’, hence the nickname. Dumky is the morefold of dumka, the diminutive of duma, a melancholy Slavic in origin Ukrainian folk ballad. All six parts contain melancholic, meditative passages as well as cheerful, rousing folk dances, in which Dvořák conjures with timbres, dynamics and tempo changes. This creates six contrasting, unique fantasies that together form an extremely entertaining piano trio.