Talent development is of paramount importance at the International Chamber music festival Utrecht, which frequently collaborates a podium with the Dutch competitions by prize winners to give. This edition, the
festival is collaborating with a new international competition: Internationalen Violinwettbewerb Stuttgart.
The first edition was won in July 2021 by the Ukrainian violinist Eva Rabchevska, also laureate of the famous Queen Elisabeth competition in Brussels in 2019. In addition to a substantial amount and a beautiful violin by Giovanni Battista Guadagnini on loan, As a prize winner, she is also offered various concerts, such as this
afternoon’s recital in TivoliVredenburg together with pianist Thomas Hopper.
ENCHANTING CZECH SOUNDS
“I composed the Violin Sonata at the beginning of the war in 1914, when we were expecting the Russian army,” wrote the Czech composer Leoš Janáček in 1922. Like many compatriots he hoped that the Russians would rid his homeland of it Austro-Hungarian rule. “In the sonata I could just about hear the sound of steel in my restless head.” References to the horrors of the First World War can be heard in the sometimes unexpected savage
outbursts, fierce chords and hysterical trills, for example in the third movement. But there is also work also full of peaceful passages, passionate melodies and lavish excesses. The beginning of the sonata is very effective thanks to a striking gypsy-like melody from the violin, which immediately catches the listener’s attention.
Falling further the numerous tempo changes and the alternation of a lot of short ones motifs. For the
performing musicians it is sometimes quite a long one challenge to get all those small, short rhythmic figures
right under to put together. If that succeeds, this violin sonata will have an intense one expressiveness.
POEM WITHOUT WORDS
Eugène Ysaÿe was a Belgian violin virtuoso who conquered the world with his violin playing and with his
impressive compositions for violin. His Brussels violin class – previously in the hands of top violinists such as Henryk Wieniawski and Henri Vieuxtemps – was world famous. He not only wrote extremely virtuoso pieces himself violin (like the six famous sonatas for solo violin), there were also many composers who wrote new pieces for Ysaÿe, including César Franck, Camille Saint- Saens, Claude Debussy and Gabriel Faure. Ysaÿe in turn dedicated his Poème élégiaque to Fauré. Inspired by Franz’s symphonic poems Liszt, Ysaÿe experimented with writing poems for a solo instrument with orchestra or piano. However, it worked for him not about the sounding of an extensive story, but more about evoking a mood image. Ysaÿe would total nine write compositions of this kind, with Poème as the first result élégiaque for solo violin with orchestra or piano. He wrote it in 1892 and 1903 and was pleased with the result: “I think Poème élégiaque marks a clear step in my work as composer, for it contains clear evidence of my desire to connecting music and virtuosity.” And indeed: this music is at the same time grippingly beautiful, partly thanks to the extra deep sound through the lower tuned G string, and very virtuoso. During his own funeral on May 17, 1931, the piece was performed by a few former students.
Franz Schubert did not just write during his short life many hundreds of songs, but also many intimate,
imaginative ones chamber music. His oeuvre for violin and piano is small though high quality: he composed three sonatas in 1816, the Sonata in A, D 574 in 1817 and during his last years the Rondo brilliant, D 895 and the Fantasy in C, D 934. The first three charming sonatas have been available since Anton’s posthumous edition Diabelli known as ‘sonatines’: small sonatas with a light character. With this term, Diabelli also hoped to seduce amateurs purchase these compositions. Schubert’s Sonata in A, also called called ‘Gran Duo’, and his last two virtuoso violin pieces are more complex and larger than the three sonatinas, with a more balanced relationship between the two instruments. Eve Rabchevska and Thomas Hoppe have opted for the melodic one and ingenious Fantasy in C. All parts flow into each other and alternately sound profound and tragic melodies, virtuoso passages and playful fragments. With a set at the center variations on Schubert’s song ‘Sei mir gegrüsst!’, D 741 and a spectacular final.