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B. Bartok | Sonata No.1 for Violin and Piano Sz.75
36:16
SongHa | 최송하

B. Bartok | Sonata No.1 for Violin and Piano Sz.75

I. Allegro Appassionato 00:00 II. Adagio 14:08 III. Allegro 25:58 Salle Bourgie, Montreal, Canada 29th April 2023 Violin : SongHa Choi Piano : Carson Becke * Prize for the best interpretation of a sonata in the semi-finals (CMIM 2023) Contact | songhachoi00@gmail.com • About the Piece • "I will attempt this, for me, unusual combination (of violin and piano) only if both instruments always had seperate themes" - November 1921, from Bartok's letter to Jelly d'Aranyi Until the early 1900s, Hungarian folk had been widely recognised as Romani Gypsy music by the public (as presented in Hungarian Rhapsodies by Liszt). However, when Kodaly and Bartok went on a field trip to collect Magyar folk tunes in 1908, they had realised that the melodies were rather based on pentatonic scales, similar to those of Central Asian and Anatolian folk traditions.  By the 1920s, Bartok had already been acquainted and influenced by composers such as Debussy, Stravinsky and Strauss. He continued his ethnomusicological research in countries such as Romania, Bulgaria and Slovakia, but after the war, the tense political situation in Hungary among its neighbour countries prohibited Bartok to continue his folk music research outside Hungary. Having experienced the impact of the first world war on the division of Hungary as well as witnessing severe destruction of his birthplace Banat, his writing style reached its peak of dissonance, aggression and complexity. The two violin sonatas were written in 1921-1922, following the birth of The Wooden Prince and the Miraculous Mandarine. Until then, he had taken a couple of years away from composition, after severe disappointment from an unsuccessful participation in the Hungariam Fine Arts Commission Competition. The sonatas were dedicated to Jelly d'Aranyi as a token of his infatuation over her and her violin playing. She had highly contributed with her suggestions for bowings and violinistic markings. They gave successful premieres of the works in London, with the composer himself on the piano, and the reviews and reception by the public were glowing. The Violin Sonata No. 1 follows a traditional sonata structure, in which there are classic 3 fast-slow-fast movements. A vague sonata form appears in the 1st movement, followed by a slow, lyrical 2nd movement and finishing the work on a high note in a rondo form with fiery coda.   Bartok himself set the sonata in "C-sharp minor” but the tonality is extremely clouded from the beginning. The work expresses its top presence in the composer’s “expressionist” period, when he came closest to the ideals of the Second Viennese School of Berg, Webern and Schoenberg. As demonstrated in his early sketches, he had no intention of considering a typical conversational duet between the two instruments which was common in the genre, and he did so by gifting each of them with very different elements and functions. The balanced concoction of its improvisatory and melodious folk themes, modal and dissonant harmonies, the constant tempi change and various use of rhythmic pattern changes helped Bartok to stamp his own initials in this new style of writing. (Written by SongHa Choi)
F. Poulenc | Violin Sonata FP 119
19:30
SongHa | 최송하

F. Poulenc | Violin Sonata FP 119

I. Allegro con fuoco 00:00 II. Intermezzo 07:00 III. Presto tragico 13:26 Salle Bourgie, Montreal, Canada 25 April 2023 Violin | SongHa Choi Piano | Carson Becke Contact | songhachoi00@gmail.com • About the piece • " The guitar makes dreams weep. The whimpering of lost souls Escapes from its round mouth" - from The Six Strings by Federico Garcia Lorca (1921) The Violin Sonata FP 119 was written in memory of a Spanish resistant poet Federico Garcia Lorca (1898-1936), primarily known for his Andalusian poetry collections and his role in inaugurating a second Golden Age of the Spanish theatre. Lorca was assassinated by nationalist militia in 1936. It was due to a French Violinist Ginette Neveu's persistent request that he had finally finished the sonata, with a "few delicious violinistic details of the score" full of tips from Neveu herself. It was premiered at the Salle Gaveau in Paris, on 21 June 1943, with Poulenc on the piano and Neveu on the violin. The work was harshly criticised at the time of its premiere and publication, and Poulenc revised the sonata in 1949, after Neveu's untimely death. The sonata is full of self citations and borrowings from other composers, such as Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov, as well as the main theme of 'Tea for Two', a popular American jazz tune that was banned by the Nazis at the time, which indicates musical protest against the ongoing German Occupation. The subheadings of the outer movements "1. allegro con fuoco" and "3. presto tragico" imply the context of his political resistance as well as the tragedy of Neveu's sudden passing away. The sonata follows a traditional fast-slow-fast movement structure. Quotations of Tchaikovsky's June from the seasons and Poulenc's own song Le présent from the Trois Poèmes by Louise Lalanne can be heard in the first movement "Allegro con fuoco", during the constant playful exchange of thematic materials between the two instruments. The second movement "Intermezzo" is accompanied by the first line of the above mentioned poem, The Guitar makes dreams weep. The spread out pizzicati on the vicolin and the repeated chords on the piano are to represent and imitate the sound of strumming a guitar. Faint Spanish influences can be heard in its improvisatory melodic lines. One can assume the prosodic relation between the Poulenc's song-like melodious music and Lorca's text. Prominent influences of Albeniz and Falla, with associations of Andalusian cante jondo, as well as a hint of tango in the centre of the movement can be clearly heard.  Throughout the lyrical yet rapid paced final movement Presto tragico, Poulenc's childhood affinity for funfair music can be heard. The music builds up in conversational sequences and progresses towards the abrupt and ending, indicating the violent execution of Lorca's death. (Written by SongHa Choi)