Recital Eva Rabchevska – First prize winner of the 1st International Violin Competition Stuttgart

Monday December 27 | 11:00 hr

Talent development is highly valued by the ICFU, which is why we frequently collaborate with the Dutch competitions and offer space in our programming for prize winners. Starting with this edition, we also collaborate with an international competition: Internationalen Violinwettbewerb Stuttgart. The first edition in July 2021 was won by Eva Rabchevska, she is also laureate (2019) of the renowned Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels.

L. Janáček – Sonata for violin & piano
E. Ysaye – Poème Élégiaque, op. 12
F. Schubert – Fantasy in C major, op. 159 (D.934)

Eva Rabchevska – violin
Boris Kusnezow – piano


Talent development is of paramount importance at the International Utrecht Chamber Music Festival, which frequently cooperates with the with the Dutch competitions by giving prize winners a podium. Starting from this edition, the festival also cooperates with an Internationalen Violinwettbewerb Stuttgart. The first edition was won last July by the Ukrainian violinist  Eva Rabchevska, also laureate of the renowned Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels in 2019. In addition to a considerable sum of money and a
beautiful violin by Giovanni Battista Guadagnini on loan, she will receive her as prizewinner also offered various concerts, such as this morning’s recital this morning in TivoliVredenburg together with pianist Boris Kusnezow.

“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 the Russians would rid his homeland of the Austro-Hungarian rule. “In the sonata I could just about hear the sound of steel in my restless head.” References to the horrors of World War I are audible in the sometimes unexpected savage outbursts, fierce chords and hysterical trills, for example, in the third movement. But in addition the work is also full of peaceful passages, passionate melodies and exuberant excesses. The beginning of the sonata is very effective thanks to a striking gypsy-like melody from the violin, which immediately grabs the listener’s attention. Furthermore, the following stand out in particular the numerous tempo changes and the alternation of many short motifs. For the musicians performing, it is sometimes quite a challenge for the performers to fit all those small, short rhythmic figures
one another. If this is successful, then this violin sonata acquires an intense eloquence.

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 held by top violinists as Henryk Wieniawski and Henri Vieuxtemps – was world famous. He not only wrote extremely virtuoso pieces for violin himself violin (such as the six famous sonatas for solo violin), there were also many composers who wrote new pieces for Ysaÿe, including César Franck, Camille Saint-Saëns, Claude Debussy and Gabriel Fauré. In turn, Ysaÿe dedicated his Poème élégiaque to Fauré. Inspired by the symphonic poems of Franz Liszt, Ysaÿe experimented with writing poems for a solo instrument with orchestra or piano. With him, however, it was not about giving voice to an elaborate story, but more about evoking a evoke an image of mood. Ysaÿe would write a total of nine compositions of this kind, the first being Poème élégiaque for solo violin with orchestra or piano. He wrote it between 1892 and 1903 and was satisfied with the result: “I think that Poème élégiaque marks a clear step in my work as a composer, because it contains clear evidence of my desire to connect music and virtuosity.” And indeed: this music is simultaneously poignantly beautiful, thanks in part to the extra deep sound due to the lower-tuned G-string, and highly virtuosic. During his own funeral on May 17, 1931, the piece was performed by a few former pupils.

Franz Schubert wrote during his short life not only many hundreds of songs, but also much intimate, imaginative chamber music. His oeuvre for violin and piano is small but high quality: he composed three sonatas in 1816, the Sonata in A, D 574 in 1817 and during his last years of life the Rondo brillant, D 895 and the Fantasy in C, D 934. The first three charming sonatas have stood since the posthumously published edition by Anton Diabelli known as ‘sonatines’: small sonatas with a light character. With this term Diabelli also hoped to entice amateurs to purchase these
compositions. Schubert’s Sonata in A, also called ‘Grand Duo’, and his last two virtuoso violin pieces are more complex and larger in scope than the three sonatines, with a more balanced relationship between the two instruments. Eva Rabchevska and Boris Kusnezow have chosen the melodious and ingenious Fantasy in C. All the movements flow into each other and alternate between profound and tragic melodies, virtuoso passages and playful fragments. The centrepiece is a set of variations on Schubert’s song ‘Sei mir gegrüsst!”, D 741 and a sparkling finale to end.