Graduation Recital by Violinist Benjamin Beilman
A Graduation Recital by violinist Benjamin Beilman, who is a native of Ann Arbor, Michigan. Benjamin was a student of Ida Kavafian and Pamela Frank. Piano accompaniment is by Curtis graduate Yekwon Sunwoo. The program:
Mozart: Sonata in E minor, K.304
This sonata dates from 1778, when the 22-year-old Mozart was visiting Paris in an attempt to parlay his early fame as a child prodigy into a fruitful career as a mature composer. Sadly, it didn't work—the Parisians were not impressed with Mozart or his compositions. To make matters worse, Mozart's mother, who had been traveling with him, fell ill and died. This unusually constructed two-movement sonata is in a minor key, prompting many observers to note the internal turmoil Mozart must have been enduring.
Richard Strauss: Sonata in E-flat major, Op.18
Dating from 1887, this is also the work of a young man, although under much happier circumstances than Mozart's. The 23-year-old Strauss had fallen in love with the soprano Pauline de Anha, who would become his wife, and the ardent nature of the music is no accident. This three-movement sonata is considered the last of Strauss' "classical compositions" written under the influence of his conservative father. Strauss would go on to make his mark in conducting, and with his tone poems and ground-breaking operas.
Fritz Kreisler: Viennese Rhapsodic Fantasietta
Benjamin Beilman concludes his program with a late-period bon-bon by the virtuoso violinist and composer Fritz Kreisler. As a native of Vienna, Kreisler's music was infused with the gemutlich spirit of grace and style that characterized that great city. By the time he came to America in the early 1940's, that grace was replaced with the brutalizing influence of the Nazis. For one last time, Kreisler looks back with fondness and melancholy on an earlier, better time.
The noted violin pedagogue Ida Kavafian, Beilman's teacher at Curtis, shares her thoughts on Ben, both as a player and as a human being:
Musical Word of the Week: Sonata
Noun: an instrumental composition, usually in three or four movements, for piano alone or for any other instrument with or without piano accompaniment.