Wednesday, June 8 / 8:00 p.m. / Church of St. John Nepomucene
MENDELSSOHN / FRANCK
Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy: Trio for Piano, Violin and Cello No.1 in D minor Op. 49
I. Molto allegro ed agitato
II. Andante con moto tranquillo
IV. Finale. Allegro assai appasionato
Terezie Fialová – piano, Milan Pala – violin, Jiří Bárta – cello
César Franck: Sona
I. Allegretto ben moderato
III. Ben moderato: Recitativo-Fantasia
IV. Allegretto poco mosso
Jiří Bárta – violoncello, Terezie Fialová – piano
Two of the best-loved works of classical music, Mendelssohn´s first piano trio, and Franck´s sonata, this time in a version for cello, a festival premiere.
The Piano Trio No. 1 in D minor, Op. 49 of Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy (1809-1847), dating from 1839, is one of his best-loved chamber compositions, and is regarded, alongside the Octet, Op. 20, as one of his finest works. While still in the process of writing it, Mendelssohn heeded the advice of his fellow-composer, Ferdinand Hiller, and reworked the piano part. The new version then embraced a more obviously Romantic style reminiscent of Schumann, with the piano being assigned a more prominent part in the trio. Robert Schumann indeed wrote a review of the revised version, commending Mendelssohn as “the 19th century Mozart, a musician who has the clearest understanding of the conflicts of our time, and who is the first to be able to reconcile them”. The conflicts referred to by Schumann were the new Romantic spirit penetrating into European arts on the one hand, and the need to come to terms with tradition, on the other. Schumann´s review documents the foresight with which he gauged the compositional art of his contemporaries.
The Sonata in A major by César Franck (1822-1890) transports us to the last decades of the 19th century, the late Romantic period, bringing along free-flowing, increasingly bold harmonies. The French composer wrote it for the phenomenal violinist, Eugène Ysaÿe (1858-1931), as a wedding present. The violinist then performed it with great frequency, thereby also contributing to Franck´s repute as a composer. The composition, noted for its elaborate piano part, is commands attention in multiple respects. First of all, it abounds in ravishing themes and stands out for opulent instrumental stylization; in terms of form, it holds together by virtue of subjects whose varying forms run through all the movements. Franck´s sonata has been performed by all great violinists.
The relevance of the cello version is upheld by the personal testimony of Pablo Casals as well as by a letter from Ysaye´s son, Antoine, according to which Franck originally conceived the sonata for cello. It was only Ysaye´s subsequent commission and the two composers´ friendship that made him to rewrite it for violin. Be it as it may, the cello version is just as popular as the one for violin, and only reaffirms the timelessness of this masterpiece.
sleeve-note: Dita Hradecká / translation: Ivan Vomáčka