Violin Sonata No. 10 in G major, Op. 96, 1st movement
In this masterclass, Professor Augustin Dumay discusses how to bring more expression into Beethoven’s Spring Sonata. He encourages the student to experiment with a broader range of colors and characters throughout the piece. He also strongly emphasizes the need for an affectuoso quality in this music and helps the student achieve expressivity and lyricism in her playing through bowing, dynamics, and an exploration of inward emotion. He also advises her to add more air in her sound. Dumay cautions against rushing the tempo and works with the student to react to and imitate the music in the piano to create a more cohesive performance.
Putting air in the sound.
Varying color and character.
Bringing out the affectuoso and lyricism.
Maintaining a steady tempo.
Playing off what is heard in the piano.
Beethoven composed his Piano Sonata No. 10 in G major between 1798-1799, during his early period of composition. At this time, his style was still closely related to that of Haydn or Mozart, though he was already showing signs of his own innovative voice. The piece was dedicated to Baroness Josefa von Braun, whose husband was an important figure in Viennese musical society and thus someone Beethoven wished to impress. The first movement, Allegro, aims to obscure the location of the downbeat. Throughout the movement, the material is explored through frequently changing harmonies, quick passagework, and chromaticism, eventually landing at a coda that finally solidifies the rhythm. The second movement, Andante, is a theme and variations that builds in complexity. The movement seems to arrive at a gentle close before a final, shocking fortissimo chord strikes. The final movement, Scherzo: Allegro assai, demonstrates Haydn’s influence through its return to rhythmic confusion as well as playful silences and harmonic surprises, leading to quiet, almost humorous ending.
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 Augustin Dumay’s feedback and comments.
He is Master in Residence at the Chapelle Musicale Reine Elisabeth (Brussels) where he teaches young violinists of the highest level, most of them winners of major international competitions.
Augustin Dumay began his career in 1980 thanks to Herbert von Karajan, who invited him to play as a soloist with the Berliner Philharmoniker. Since then, he has gone on to perform with Europe’s best orchestras, including the Philharmonia, London Symphony, Royal Philharmonic, London Philharmonic, Royal Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Bayerischer Rundfunk, Mahler Chamber, Camerata Salzburg, Tonhalle Zürich, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and Montreal Symphony, under the direction of S. Ozawa, C. Davis, C. von Dohnanyi, C. Dutoit, G. Rozhdestvensky, D. Zinman, Y. Temirkanov, K. Masur, W. Sawallisch, K. Sanderling, I. Fischer, as well as with the leading conductors of the new generation such as D. Harding, A. Gilbert, and R. Ticciati.
His duo with pianist Maria João Pires has toured the world several times. His fifty recordings for EMI and Deutsche Grammophon have won multiple international awards.
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.