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Michaela Martin, Janáček, Violin Sonata

Sequence published on 2/19/21
Composer : Leos Janacek
Year of composition : 1914
Artistic period : 20th century
Musical category : Sonata
Academy : Academy Feb. 14 - Feb. 21, 2021
Master(s) : Mihaela Martin
Student : Celio Torina
Date of recording : 10/22/21
Instrument(s) played :

"The vibrato, the expression, is very important." Mihaela Martin

About the Violin class of Mihaela Martin on the Sonate

Violin Master class by Michaela Martin | Janáček, Sonate

From the beginning of the class, the master indicates that Janacek's musical language is “very
unique”. For example, the first movement is very “fragmentary”, and urges the student not to
simplify the text.

Therefore, the class develops with great intensity, as they work both the first and second
movements in great detail. Both the master and the student work on vibrato (“it's very important
that the bow moves and that you fill the bow with vibrato, that the color is a color that takes a
little more Surface”), bow strokes (“try not to simplify the bow strokes"), the need to be relaxed
("if you stay relaxed, [the vibrato] it's wider and also here this fingering, it's not really, it's not
really fluid. You need fluidity "), intonation ("if you can hear yourself, because the intonation
has gone up a lot, but listen, don't leave it, correct it. You really have to correct it while you're
playing because it can happen, but you can't go on”), the structure and separation of sentences,
and also more general matters about color and character of the work. 

What we learn in this Violin Master class

- Janáček has a very particular musical language
- The vibrato and the expression are very important
- If the musician hears himself out of tune, he should correct it
- One should create that atmosphere of uncertainty, of restlessness, but not by sheer force.
- The importance of using different bow speeds 

About Leoš Janáček's work

Leoš Janáček, Sonata, first and second movement Janáček’s music is steeped in the folk music idioms and speech patterns of his Moravian homeland, located in the north-central region of what was formerly Czechoslovakia. “The whole life of man is in folk music,” he proclaimed. Hence, it comes as no surprise to find that this composer’s melodic material, both vocal and instrumental, follows closely the inflections, cadences, and rhythms of the Czech language and that he developed a uniquely expressive style.
Janáček left just one violin sonata, which he wrote in his sixties. “I wrote it at the beginning of the war when we were expecting the Russians in Moravia,” he declared. This was meant in a positive sense, for Janáček was counting on the Russians to liberate his country from the yoke of the Hapsburgs. Some listeners hear the sound of gunfire evoked in the final movement. Evocations of Russia can also be detected in the first and third movements, where the tone and melodic shapes resemble certain passages in Janáček’s opera Katya Kabanova, whose story comes from a Russian drama (The Storm by Ostrovsky). The sonata went through several transformations before arriving at its final form in 1922. The premiere was given that year in Brno by František Kudlaček and Jaroslav Kvapil.
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