...and the penultimate one in Cambridge for quite some time, if all goes according to plan with our shift eastwards. I was under the influence of man-flu, ibuprofen and paracetemol so my emotions were suppressed in the service of finger art, but it was still exhilarating and moving (for the performers, at least, though the audience seemed quite happy, too!) It was nice to end with Brahms 3, which has long been a goal, and very gracious of Jane to indulge me by learning my Fantasy in G minor, which has been performed once before, in Cricklade College, Andover, by another great violinist, Daphne Moody - also a pupil of Grinke in the 70s... small world! There were quite a few kids in the audience last Wednesday at the URC, and they all said they liked my piece the best - so take that, Mozart & Brahms.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Sonata No.18 in F major
Andante con variazione
Written in 1788, this was Mozart’s final violin sonata, though by no means his most dramatic. There is an almost serene gentleness to the outer movements, with touches of cheeky humour, and only the central Allegro (in sonata form) betrays any agitation. As was customary for the classical period, the piano takes centre stage and most of the good melodies.
Sonata No.3 in D minor, Op.108
Un poco presto e con sentimento
Brahms’ last violin sonata is a much darker, brooding work. Mystery, and a sense of circling round something unpleasant characterises the opening movement. There is tremendous stasis in the harmony—the whole development section is worked out over a dominant pedal, like an insistent drum beat, a menace that is only finally put to rest in the coda over a tonic pedal. The slow movement brings much needed warmth before an ambiguous scherzo and brutal finale.
In this last movements the composer completely upsets the pulse and the expected rhythms, pushing his idiom and his interpreters to their limits.
Fantasy in G minor (1998)
This Fantasy is a teenage pastiche of all that I loved about romantic virtuoso music. Taking in Verdi’s Requiem, Grieg’s Piano Concerto and Peer Gynt Suite, James Bond and a Rachmaninov prelude (plus a few others) I weave together three themes—one martial, two reflective—in various minor keys, before the triumphant conclusion in the tonic major. There are a lot of notes—I apologise for that… what can I say? I was young and foolish.