Austrian Radio sessions - 1977

Graduating from Juilliard, he returned to Toronto and took his place in the ranks of the professional musicians and played with various Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (C.B.C.)

Joaquin TURINA (1882 - 1949) was born in Seville, Spain on 9th December. He showed his precociousness by playing the accordion at the age of 4. At the age of 12 he began studies of harmony, counterpoint and composition. In 1897 he made his debut in Sevilla on the pianoforte. In 1902 he left for Madrid and later on in 1905 he went to Paris. There he studied at the Schola Cantorum Conservatory with Serieyx and Vincent d'lndy. He met Ravel and Debussy and his countrymen Albeniz and Manuel de Falla. Encouraged by Albeniz he soon found his inspiration in the national music of Sevilla and Andalucia. In 1914 he returned to Madrid. Turina was a prolific composer writing operas, orchestra and voice, chamber music, piano music etc, this sonata is one of two. He was appointed professor of composition at the Madrid Royal Conservatory and held the highest musical post in the Ministry of National Education. Sonata No.1 Opus 51 was published in 1930. Even though the 1st movement is marked Lento, the opening announcement of the theme is powerful, passionate and reaching the heights of the finger-board. After this introduction he changes the tempo and character to Allegro Molto and piano. It is lyrical and impassioned with technical virtuosity and many changes of tempo. The 2nd movement, Aria, is marked Lento and is a tranquil song perhaps conjuring up a quiet moonlit Spanish garden. The final movement, Rondeau, is a playful Allegretto which remains charming throughout with the various changes of tempo, coming back to the original theme. He brings back the very first theme of the 1st movement, and violin and pianoforte accelerate to a fortissimo finish of this colourful sonata.

Bohuslav MARTINU (1890-1959) was of Czech origin and was born in a church tower in the village of Policka. He started to compose as a child and in 1906 was entered into the Prague Conservatory as a violin student. His main interest was always composing but he did not complete his courses at the Conservatory and neither did he complete the course at the Prague Organ School... In 1923 he went to Paris and found work as an orchestral player. He stayed until the German armies began the invasion of France. Martinu managed to find his way to the U.S.A. and was befriended by Koussevitzky, who commissioned several compositions. He wrote numerous works; 16 operas, many ballet scores, 6 symphonies, 5 piano concertos, a violin concerto, a double violin concerto and 2 'cello concertos. Eventually he met Albert Einstein in Princeton University, himself an amateur violinist. The Five Madrigal Stanzas were dedicated to Einstein and published in 1930. Moderato marked cantabile is a flowing song accompanied by the pianoforte. The simplicity soon shows its complexity to the two performers because he changes time signatures frequently almost from bar to bar; 9/8, 6/8, 3/8, within the course of the song. However, to the listener the music flows without any distractions but is enhanced by these many time changes. Poco Allegretto is a jovial stanza marked poco forte with a dialogue between the fortepiano and violin. Consistently written in the time signature of 6/8.
Andante moderato starts 6/4, into 5/4, into 3/4, into 5/4, into 6/4 and continues in this manner, bar for bar settling down to 6/4 occasionally. Scherzando, poco allegro immediately starts with the time signature of 7/8. After a few bars he changes again to 8/8 and in the very next bar to 6/8. Poco allegro - Always with various changes of time signatures, which are dotted minims while the pianoforte executes complicated rhythms to bring to an end with a G major chord together.

Karol SZYMANOWSKI (1882 - 1937) was born in the Tsarist Ukraine of Polish parentage. His father began to teach him at the age of 7 to play the pianoforte. In 1901 he went to study at the Warsaw Conservatory. His first compositions were much in the 'Style of Chopin'. With patronage, he organised and promoted composers known as "Young Poland". The Sonata Opus 9 was written in 1904. He travelled extensively to Berlin, Leipzig and Switzerland; later in 1912 he settled in Vienna. In 1915 he visited Kyiv, Moscow and St Petersburg. His compositions gained recognition. In failing health since 1929 he attended several sanatoriums and finally died at the sanatorium in Grasse, France.
Allegro Moderato - Explicit instruction is given to interpret the music immediately. It opens with a powerful fortissimo chord but he marks it as patetico. Tempos are changed from bar to bar in places to shape a phrase or a melody. The movement is breathless and agitated giving way to moments of passion but finally ends in a peaceful calmness and tranquillity. Andantino tranquillo e dolce - The pianoforte sets the mood with a lyrical melody to be taken up by the violin to soar into the heights of the finger board. Then a surprising change of character into a playful scherzando of left and right hand pizzicati with quick snatches of the bow. A delightful interval of virtuosity. After a short climbing cadenza the music resumes its lyrical melody to end restfully and quietly. Finale - Marked Allegro molto, quasi presto... the pianoforte opens with three powerfully pounding chords and sets the theme in 6/8 tempo of a dotted crotchet followed by three quavers. Although the movement has fortes and pianos etc., to shape the music, it is relentless in its drive. There is no respite to the intensity and fiery passion of the movement. In the last few bars Szymanowski marks the tempo as presto, and violin and pianoforte end the movement together with several furious chords.

Edward William ELGAR (1857 -1934) was the son of an organist in Worcester. Elgar played the violin and gave lessons in his early years. He began to compose and finally his orchestral composition in 1899, the Enigma Variations, won him the acclaim as an important British composer. He was knighted in 1904 and appointed Professor of Music at Birmingham University in 1905 to 1908. His knowledge of the violin naturally led him to compose a Violin Concerto (1910) and later a Cello Concerto. Both works are standards in the repertoire of accomplished concert performers. The Violin Sonata Op. 82 was published in 1919. A composition of elegance and romantic passion. Allegro - The movement is marked risoluto from the very beginning and immediately establishes a powerful and robust character within the first four bars. There are specific instructions throughout the movement; con forza, allargando, espressivo and tranquillo. It becomes full of lyricism and romanticism. Romance - Marked Andante the violin announces a melancholy theme followed by harp-like pianoforte chords. This movement is written as a dialogue or recitative between the violin and pianoforte requiring careful accuracy. Again, marked with specific instructions to mould a sensitive and haunting movement. Allegro, non troppo - A lyrical and gracefully flowing theme starts the final movement but soon the 2nd theme interjects, always with instructions and the performer is compelled to interpret heroically and expansively, Elgar moves from the lyrical to the passionate with the pianoforte underlining these moods with great sweeps of scales and arpeggios. The movement ends triumphant in a major key of the heroic and grandiose theme.

Go back to info page