Art of the Recital presents:

Spring, 2020: Vibrations

Sunday, April 19, 2020, 3:00 PM, Congregational Church of Topsfield, MA

Ravel                Sonata

Ysaÿe                Solo Sonata No 5

Saint-Saëns     Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso

Followed by a charming collection of encores and salon pieces, including Debussy’s “Girl with the Flaxen Hair”

Featuring primarily French chamber music, unaccompanied virtuoso music, and delightful salon pieces, Vibrations is inspired by French impressionism.  The term “vibrations” has dual meaning: on one hand it expresses the impressionistic idea that composition, performance, and our emotional response are the same thing as the sound itself.  On the other hand, it suggests a blurring of any preconceived distinction among these things.

Ravel’s Sonata begins with an impressionistic first movement, very much the musical parallel to the work of French impressionist painters.  The second movement is modestly titled, “Blues,” and is one of the jazziest and most soulful “blues” movements ever written by a classical composer!  The finale is a virtuoso show-piece of extreme speed.  This sonata is very serious in its artistic ambitious, but also more fun and playful than most pieces – a treat to hear, especially live!

Click the video below to hear a performance clip of Ravel’s “Blues” movement by Joshua:

Saint-Saëns was a virtuoso violinist, and his “Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso” continues to dazzle audiences today.  It is not only a technical showpiece, however – Saint-Saëns was also a violinist of depth and feeling, and he captured the violin’s expressive and lyrical personality perfectly with this iconic work.  The job of the violinist is not merely to show off, but to move the hearts of the audience, something Saint-Saëns certainly understood!

Ysaÿe’s Solo Sonata No 5 comes from his collection of unaccompanied virtuoso sonatas for the violin.  The paradox of these works is that, while they are standards in any soloist’s repertoire, they are rarely performed live.  This is due, at least in part, simply to their astonishing difficulty!  Joshua has been presenting the complete cycle of these sonatas in a series of lecture recitals, and looks forward to including this special work on the program.

This program includes a collection of delightful salon pieces – short works, such as Debussy’s “Girl with the Flaxen Hair,” often performed on violin recitals of old.  These pieces live to charm, to beguile, to bring a tear to the eye.  Joshua and Eliko have often included a short selection of these works on previous recital programs, to audiences’ delight!  After a number of requests last season, we are pleased to include a collection on this program.

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