Dvořák Ballade, Op.15

Written late in 1884 shortly after he completed his Seventh Symphony, the Ballade was written for a Christmas edition of the London Magazine of Music. Written in the brooding key of D minor it is another example of Dvořák’s genius in devising small scale works of incredible emotional depth. The outer sections are characterised the […]

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Smetana From The Homeland (Z domoviny, Aus der Heimat)

Moderato Andantino – Moderato Completed in the spring of 1880 shortly after Smetana finished his nationalistic tone poem cycle Má vlast, From My Homeland is a two movement work for violin and piano and one of only two works written by Smetana for this combination of instruments. He had by this point completely lost his hearing and […]

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Dvořák Four Romantic Pieces, Op.75

Allegro moderato Allegro maestoso Allegro appassionato Larghetto In January 1887 Dvořák was living in Prague with his family and a young chemistry student named Josef Kruis. Kruis was an amateur violinist and Dvořák took it upon himself to write a trio for 2 violins and viola so the young man, his teacher Jan Perlikán and Dvořák could play together. […]

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Elgar Sonata Review

Here is a lovely review from MusettaStone.com of our performance of the Elgar Sonata at The Banff Centre at the beginning of January: It was simply magical!  The duo brought to the stage so many different moods, colours, and atmospheres.  I was particularly impressed in how unified their performance was, and how they moved with […]

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Joining the dots…

As performers we spend hours worrying about perfecting the notes & rhythms, clarifying articulation and refining dynamic shading, diligently slaving away our practice hours in the hope of improving our capacity to realise the dots and symbols representing the composer’s elusive intentions.  Teachers spend hours on techniques to improve sound quality, rhythm, articulation, balance, and so on, all […]

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Mozart Sonata for Piano & Violin in D, K.306

I Allegro con spirito II Andantino cantabile III Allegretto In August 1777, the 21 year old Mozart, frustrated with the limitations of his court employment and the musical environment in Salzburg, sought leave to undertake another European tour, his first as an adult. The archbishop released him from his post as concertmaster of the court […]

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Saint-Saëns Sonata for Violin & Piano in D minor, Op.75

I Allegro agitato – Adagio II Allegretto moderato – Allegro molto Saint-Saëns was born in Paris in 1835 and spent much of his professional life in the city.  Like Mozart before him, the young Saint-Saëns was a prodigious talent, composing his first piece for piano at the age of 3 and making his formal debut […]

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Franck Violin Sonata in A

I Allegretto ben moderato II Allegro III Recitativo – Fantasia: Moderato – Molto Lento IV Allegretto poco mosso Born in Liege in 1822, César Franck’s early life was haunted by a rather over-bearing father who had great ambitions for his undoubtably talented son. Seeking the fame and fortune such talent could bring to their family, […]

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Elgar Violin Sonata in E minor, Op.82

By 1918 and the end of the Great War, Elgar was in poor health and deeply disturbed by the tragic events that had befallen Europe. He and his wife rented a beautiful cottage near Fittleworth in Sussex called Brinkwells where Elgar enjoyed what was to become his last major creative period. In these wonderful surroundings […]

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Climbing the Sleeping Buffalo Mountain…

We arrived last Saturday at the stunning Banff Centre and while it’s safe to say it’s amazing to be back, (deer nibbling at the trees outside, snow falling all around so that it really does feel like Narnia!) something definitely feels very different this year. We have a serious and important job to do this […]

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