Midori Gotō is one of the most admired violinists of her generation. In 1982, Zubin Mehta invited the 11-year-old Midori to make her debut at the New York Philharmonic’s New Year’s Eve concert. Midori has been recognized as a dedicated and gifted educator and an innovative community engagement activist throughout the US, Europe, Asia and the developing world. She was recently named a Messenger of Peace by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and received the prestigious Crystal Award by the World Economic Forum in Davos. Midori plays the 1734 Guarnerius del Gesù ‘ex-Huberman’. She uses four bows – two by Dominique Peccatte, one by François Peccatte and one by Paul Siefried.
Lithuanian pianist Ieva Jokubaviciute was honoured as a recipient of a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship in 2006. She Earned degrees from the Curtis Institute of Music and Mannes College of Music, having studied with Seymour Lipkin and Richard Goode. In June of 2009, Ieva's piano trio Trio Cavatina won the Naumburg Chamber Music Competition. Jokubaviciute has been on the faculty of the Steans Institute for Young Artists at the Ravinia Festival and on the piano faculty of the Bard College Conservatory of Music Preparatory Division. In the fall of 2015, she began her tenure as Assistant Professor of Piano at Shenandoah Conservatory in Winchester, VA. During the summer, Jokubaviciute serves as a faculty member of Curtis Summerfest in Philadelphia and Kneisel Hall Chamber Music School and Festival in Blue Hill, Maine. Since the autumn of 2016, Jokubaviciute, in collaboration with the violinist Midori Gatō, has given recitals in Canada, Germany, Austria, and Japan, in addition to performing at the Cartagena International Music Festival in Columbia.
Paul Hindemith, whose contribution to music extended beyond composing, to musicology and arts administration, was also a violist, violinist, and conductor. In an era when modernist music was embracing a philosophy of “art for art’s sake,” Hindemith was a supporter of Gebrauchsmusik, or “utility music,” works composed for a specific and practical purpose. Written during a self-imposed exile in Switzerland in 1939, the Sonata in C Major is one of the composer’s four sonatas for violin and piano. Constructed in three movements, the sonata’s language shares much in common with the writing of Mahler. The fanfare-like first movement, Lebhaft, evolves from the main theme, which Hindemith constructs as if with building blocks. It begins in a low register in a bold, declamatory manner, and moves to a high register by the last measure. The second movement, Langsam – Lebhaft – Langsam, wie zuerst, is written with a thinner texture. Divided into three parts, the second movement sustains a hint of Baroque character. The middle section is purposefully nonchalant, with the music consistently dancing, although in the odd meter of 5/8. In the final section the 2/4 returns as it was. The 3-voice fugue of the last movement is solemn. The disciplined character of angular and unrelenting verticality of the three themes comes to a pointed and grand conclusion.
Johannes Brahms spent the summer of 1886 at Lake Thun, near Interlaken in Switzerland. There he focused on writing lieder and chamber works, among them his Second Cello Sonata, the Second Violin Sonata and the Third Piano Trio. The A Major Sonata is probably the most lyrical of the composer’s three sonatas for violin and piano. The principal characteristics of the Second Violin Sonata reflect Brahms’s shyness and introspection, his originality and his intensity. The work begins with a theme, first presented by the piano and later the violin, which serves as the precursor to a melodic line that unfolds throughout the piece. The melody is sweet in its simplicity, yet powerful without force. The second movement, separated into two alternating sections, begins with a rustic Andante, a folk-like Vivace with a hint of humour. The movement ends in a short, blaze of excitement. The Finale, Allegretto grazioso, is a graceful and elegant rondo. Mid-movement, the composer inserted a sudden passionate outburst of emotional upheaval. However, the calm theme of the opening returns at the end of the composition in triumphant.
Franz Schubert composed his first three Violin Sonatas in the Spring of 1816. They are rather short works written largely on Mozartian models. They were published after the composer’s death by Anton Diabelli in Vienna, in 1836, as Three Sonatinas, Op.137. The opening theme of the Sonata in G minor is a declarative unison, offering a striking similarity to Mozart's sonata in the same key. Schubert employs an equal partnership with appeals and responses in each part. The tender Andante also features keyboard and violin interplay in addition to an especially lyrical middle section with indescribable poetic feeling and bewitching harmonic turns. The Menuetto is somewhat reminiscent Haydn with an elegant songful Trio and the Finale, Allegro moderato, at times recalling Weber, acts in dramatic contrast.
The Romanian composer Georges Enescu wrote his Third Violin Sonata in 1926. Enescu was a gifted composer, violinist, pianist and conductor. As a composer, Enescu was not particularly prolific, with only 33 compositions in print. His perfectionism and his obsessive nature may have led him to destroy his own music before it could be published. His compositions are varied due to his broad artistic range and multiple vocations. While his best-known works, like the Romanian Rhapsodies, were influenced by folk music, he also composed in the neo-classical and neo-Baroque styles. Deeply devoted to his homeland, Enescu lived in Romania during both World Wars, however, he relocated permanently to Paris after World War II, during the Communist occupation of his homeland. Nonetheless, the composer’s attachment to his native country was highlighted throughout the music he wrote.
The sonata is composed in the style of standard Romanian folk music with decorative slides and portamentos, bent pitches and quarter-tones, as well as special sound effects achieved thru harmonics, sul tasto and ponticello. Using these techniques, Enescu achieves the qualities of bells, pipes and fiddles typically found in the folk genre. Additionally, the score is heavily notated with markings for specific sound effects and the idea of barlines, meter, and pitches are stretched to accomplish the sound of a free-form composition.
Alixandra Porembski, English Language Annotator
“Program Notes.” Midori, www.gotomidori.com/program-notes-2.