Violin Sonata No. 1 in D Major, Op. 12
Violin Sonata No. 1 in D Major, Op. 12
Ludwig van Beethoven
György Pauk and his student Maja Willi explore bowing techniques, how to play in a Beethovian style, and how to make clear musical decisions in this masterclass for the violin.
Produced by the Saline royale Academy
In this masterclass, Professor György Pauk discusses phrasing, rhythm, and bowing in the last movement of Beethoven’s Opus 12 D Major Sonata for violin. He works with his student Maja Willi to differentiate her sforzandos from forte pianos in order to correctly play in a Beethovian style. Moreover, he helps her choose the most efficient bowings that will best communicate her musical ideas and phrasing. This is done through a lot of demonstration and imitation between professor and student. Pauk encourages the student to sing the melodic material, especially when she has the main theme, and cautions her against rushing or being imprecise with the rhythm. By the end of the class, the student has a stronger command of her musical intention and more control over difficult passages.
How to make a stylistically appropriate sforzando.
Making clear phrases.
Playing with accurate rhythms and timing.
Choosing the most effective bowings.
Having control in difficult passages.
Beethoven’s Op. 12 were his first sonatas for the violin, composed between 1797-98. The D major sonata is the first in the set of three. Composed relatively early in Beethoven’s career, these works are similar in style to those of Haydn or Mozart, though unsurprisingly they contain more emotional turmoil and atypical harmonies for the period.
Though the pieces are now referred to as violin sonatas, at the time of composition they were actually considered piano sonatas with violin accompaniment. Despite this, Beethoven treats both instruments with equal importance, already making changes to tradition. In the first movement, Allegro con brio, the violin presents the first lyrical melody, which escalates into more energetic material that is traded between the two instruments. The second movement, Tema con variazioni: Andante con moto, presents a delicate opening theme and later explores several moods and emotions throughout its variations. The piece comes to a satisfying conclusion with the delightfully cheerful final movement, Rondo: Allegro.
Aim for excellence! You can improve your skills with expert advice. Download the annotated sheet music of this violin masterclass. Please note that this piece has been annotated in accordance to György Pauk’s feedback and comments.
First Prize in 1956 at the Niccolò Paganini International Violin Competition in Genoa, Italy.
Recognized as one of the leading violinists of his generation, György Pauk was born in Budapest, Hungary, and received his musical education at the renown Franz Liszt Music Academy. Before settling in London in 1961, he already won First Prize at the Paganini Competition in Genova, The Premier Grand Prix at the Jacques Thibaud Competition in Paris, First Prize at the Munich Sonata Competition, and had performed numerous concerts all over Eastern Europe.
He made his London debut in the Wigmore Hall in 1962, receiving outstanding reviews in the press, followed by his orchestral debut in the Royal Festival Hall, with the London Symphony Orchestra under Lorin Maazel. He made his US debut with the Chicago Symphony at the invitation of Sir George Solti. Likewise, he has performed in all five continents, giving an average of 90 concerts a year alongside many major orchestras, collaborating with conductors like Haitink, Dorati, Barbirolli, Solti, Kondrashin, Boulez, Rattle, Dutoit, Rozdestvensky, Dohnanyi, Colin Davis, and more. What's more, he has appeared, among others, at the Edinburgh, Luzern, Cheltenham, Bath, Hollywood Bowl, Ravinia, Santa Fe, Aspen, Dubrovnik, and Prague Spring Festivals.
He was a regular soloist at the Henry Wood Promenade Seasons at the Albert Hall and made innumerable broadcasts for the BBC. His exceptional rich repertoire, also for chamber music, includes several masterpieces of the 20th Century. He retired from the podium after five decades, playing his last farewell concert with the Budapest Festival Orchestra under their conductor Ivan Fischer in Budapest in 2008.
György Pauk is now professor at the Royal Academy of Music in London, where he conducts a “Performers Class” with selected young talents from all over the world. He has led masterclasses in the US at the following institutions: Curtis, Peabody, Yale, Cleveland, Oberlin, Manhattan School, San Francisco, and Juilliard School, as well as in schools all over China, Japan, Israel and across Europe. He is often invited to juries of many major international violin competitions.
Born in Bonn, Germany in 1770, Ludwig van Beethoven is one of the most mainstream references of Classicism — a pianist, composer, and an unequivocal genius. Descending from a long line of musicians, Beethoven studied music from an early age, beginning with the piano, clarinet, and the organ. At the ripe age of 11-years-old, Beethoven received his first job as a court organist, replacing his own teacher for a period of time. A veritable young prodigy, Beethoven was publicly compared to Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and a few years later, the young musician traveled to Vienna to briefly study under the tutelage of Mozart himself. In his late 20s, Beethoven noticed difficulties with his hearing and by his mid 40s, he was completely deaf and unable to vocally communicate. Despite this misfortune, he remarkably continued to compose music. Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 was written after he had entirely lost his hearing. While his early musical career heavily reflected the Viennese Classical tradition inherited by the likes of Mozart and Haydn, Beethoven achieved a unique revolutionary identity by the end of his career. Deceased in 1827, his wake was a public event that gathered around 10,000 people. Despite his passing, Beethoven’s legacy lives on. His works anticipated many of the features that would characterize music in the romantic era and even that of the 20th century.