What is this—a movement?
For the second time in the same season, the UMS has hired a very attractive German violinist to perform in town immediately after she released recordings of Bach’s violin concertos. Earlier this season, Anne-Sophie Mutter put out a disc of those standard-¬repertoire items and then performed them in Hill Auditorium. And now Julia Fischer, who’s just done a disc of the same works, will be appearing in Hill on April 24—though thankfully not playing Bach’s deathless masterpieces.
Fischer was here last season performing Beethoven’s Violin Concerto with the St. Petersburg Philharmonic. This time, instead of an orchestra, the young German violinist will be joined by pianist Milana Chernyavska in a mixed but nicely balanced program of sonatas for violin and piano. Opening each half of the program will be a sonata from the high classical period—Mozart’s in C Major (K. 296) and Beethoven’s in G Major, Opus 30 No. 3. Closing each half will be a sonata from what might be called the high modernist period—Prokofiev’s in F minor Opus 80 and, perhaps most surprisingly, Martinů’s No. 3 (H. 303).
It’ll be very interesting to hear what Fischer does with the Mozart and Beethoven sonatas. She’s recently recorded all Mozart’s concertos, and the pure tone and impeccable intonation she demonstrated there should fit the C major sonata’s graceful elegance like a gown by Dior. The question then becomes, how will she recalibrate her style for a chamber work? Likewise, we know Fischer’s way with Beethoven from her big-hearted account of the composer’s violin concerto last season—but how will she scale back her approach when she’s accompanied by a lone piano rather than a full orchestra?
It’ll be even more interesting to hear what Fischer does with Prokofiev and Martinů. The Soviet composer’s F minor Sonata is hard-core modernism at its most violently aggressive, and though Fischer has shown she’s got the virtuoso technique to meet its demands, who knows how she’ll pitch her lyrical style to its heroic interpretive requirements?
That goes double for Martinů’s Sonata. A large-scale four-movement work from the Czech composer’s wartime American exile, the sonata is as passionate as Prokofiev’s, but with less aggression and more lyricism. It’s easy to imagine the light and lively Fischer warming to Martinů’s singing lines—but less easy to guess how she’ll respond to his driving rhythms and soaring climaxes.
But it sure will be interesting to find out.