Beethoven Sonates - Beeld artikel (English)

By Paul Boekkooi 10 February 2016 00:00

Beethoven sonata cycle – Zanta Hofmeyr, violin; Ilia Radoslavov, piano

Brooklyn Theater, Pretoria

The history of the violin and famous violinists is filled with serious descriptions as well as anecdotes of Beethoven’s ten sonatas for piano and violin – fascinating works which brought these two instruments together on a new and higher level since Mozart.

It is now well over two centuries since Beethoven composed the last of his ten violin sonatas, the Sonata in G, Opus 96.  This Éverest among his violin sonatas gave a prospect of how this combination would be developing over the next two centuries.

Zanta Hofmeyr is no novice regarding these sonatas, but each revisitation, for any endeavouring musician, be it the violinist or the pianist, brings.a renewed perspective on this powerful oeuvre within the composer’s creative work

Hofmeyr’s task this time was risky and even more challenging because she had to work with the Bulgarian pianist Ilia Radoslavov for the first time.  After Sunday’s first of three concerts any sceptic might as well become humble:  the two musicians established a close rapport with oneanother via Beethoven.

Four sonatas were performed: the opus 12 series which consist of the sonata in D, in A and in E Flat as well as the No 5, opus24, also known as the Spring sonata.

To reach the level where the early three sonatas reach true fulfilment, the two parts (violin and piano) have to blend with integrity, sensitively interwoven but, ideally spoken, also richly contrasted. This was accomplished.

Another sine qua non relates to the affinity expressed by both players with Beethoven’s unique idiom.  Both of them have to allow the Beethoven phrases to be aired.

This was also accomplished, but not always with continued concentration.  At times the pianist’s accents were somewhat overly forceful.  More about this below.

The fact that Mozart, and after him Beethoven, described these duo sonatas as sonatas for piano and violin, only relates to the fact that the piano in compositional terms never was to be seen as inferior.  In reality the two instruments are completely equal with ongoing contrasting between them when one would intermittently be dominating, and  the other only then assuming the accompanying role.

The early sonatas’ slowe( r ) central parts were fully developed with levels of expressionism which were well managed and developed in the corrrect places.

With the four-part Spring sonata a concise and deeper encounter was already experienced with lively tone production, devoid of any theatrics and thus resulting in the flourishing of high levels of absolute purity.  


Zanta Hofmeyr Press