Beethoven and more 2011 podcast #2: Playful and relaxed | Beethovenfest | DW | 23.09.2011
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Beethoven and more 2011 podcast #2: Playful and relaxed

The early violin sonatas are 'something wonderful,' says violinist Julian Rachlin. Beethoven was at the very start of his career - a bit cheeky and going his own way.

A violin against a music score

The violin begins to come into its own during this sonata's closing movement

Ludwig van Beethoven
Sonata No. 2 in A Major for violin and piano, op. 12, No. 2: 3rd movement: Allegro piacevole
Julian Rachlin, violin
Itamar Golan, piano
MP3 recorded by Deutsche Welle (DW) in the chamber music hall of the Beethoven House, Bonn, on September 18, 2011

In his early violin sonatas of op. 12, Beethoven experiments cautiously with giving equal treatment to piano and violin. He puts the spotlight on the violin during longer melodic passages in the slow movements but for stretches in the energetic opening and closing movements, relegates it to the role of an accompanist.

One exception comes in the third movement of his Sonata No. 2, which lacks the exuberance of the other sonatas' closers. Instead, we hear a cheerful, playful but also relaxed rondo with the two instruments tossing the ball back and forth. And even though the composer gives the "final word" to the piano here, he seems to do so with a wink.

"That's just the fascinating thing about Beethoven - his humor," said Itamar Golan. "Of course it's clear he intended it to be funny. Maybe it's what Germans call Rhineland humor. But his brand of humor is often so subtle, so much in the background, that the first time you play or hear the works, you may not pick up on what he really meant."

Author: Marita Berg / gsw
Editor: Rick Fulker

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