Violin Sonata, 1st and 2nd movement
In this violon masterclass, Professor Mihaela Martin and her student Celio Torina explore Violin Sonata by Czech composer Leoš Janáček.
Firstly, Martin explains what makes Janáček Violin Sonata a unique piece. As such, Torina must find the right tone and colors of the piece through each note, and in each beat. The student is cautioned against rushing, as well as simplifying the punctuation in the sheet music.
What's more, the pair discuss vibratos, the emotional range of the piece, as well as the logic and relationship between passages.
Capturing the emotional scope of the piece.
Playing with a trajectory.
Respecting the written punctuation.
The piece by Czech composer Leoš Janáček was written between 1913 and 1915, and premiered in 1922 at the Museum of Applied Arts in Brno by František Kudlácek and Jaroslav Kvapil. It is the composer’s only surviving violin piece. It is structured in four movements that Janáček reordered and rewrote several times before it was published in 1922: con moto, ballada, allegretto and adagio. The Sonata is very representative of Janáček's mature works. The first movement contains a very agitated, dramatic opening that the composer wrote in direct response to the First World War.
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 Mihaela Martin’s feedback and comments.
Won second prize in the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, which was followed by further main prizes in Montreal, Sion and Brussels.
Romanian-born artist Mihaela Martin is known as one of the most outstanding violin virtuosos of her generation. She began taking lessons with her father when she was five years old. Later, she studied with Stefan Gheorghiu, a pupil of George Enescu and David Oistrakh. At nineteen, Mihaela Martin won the Second Prize in the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, followed by other prominent prizes in Montreal, Sion, and Brussels. Subsequently, her international career was launched after receiving First Prize at the International Violin Competition of Indianapolis.
She has performed with leading orchestras such as the BBC Symphony, the Royal Philharmonic, the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, the Mozarteum Orchestra of Salzburg, and the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra. Furthermore, she has worked with conductors such as Kurt Masur, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Charles Dutoit, and Neeme Järvi. Together with Daniel Austrich, Nobuko Imai, and Frans Helmserson, she is a permanent member of the Michelangelo String Quartet, which she cofounded in 2003.
Mihaela Martin is a professor at the University of Music in Cologne and at the Haute Ecole de Musique in Geneva, and has taught at the Académie musicale de Villecroze. In addition, she teaches masterclasses all over the globe. She is a regular jury member at important international competitions, such as the Queen Elisabeth (Belgium), Indianapolis (USA), Enescu (Romania), and Tchaikovsky (Russia).
Leoš Janáček was born in the town of Hukvaldy, Czech Republic, in 1854. His father was a schoolteacher and helped his son get the appropriate musical training through the Brno local church, starting with choir and continuing with the organ. He joined the Prague Organ School, but was so poor that he could not practice on a real piano, and had to draw a keyboard on a tabletop to mimic the keys. After graduating, he returned to Brno and got a teaching job. He married his young student Zdenka Schulzová in 1881. His family life was marked by several tragedies: he lost a son and a daughter, and later fell in love with another woman, a situation that dissolved his marriage with Zdenka after she attempted to commit suicide. His professional life was not easy as he was a hard-working composer, but none of his works received any real success. Fame happened later in his life, and he enjoyed a few short years of recognition before he passed away of pneumonia at the age of 74, in 1928. His style was profoundly influenced by his love and interest in Moravian and Slavic folk music, and some of his most notable pieces include The Excursions of Mr. Brouček, Kát'á Kabanová, String Quartet No, 2, 'Intimate Letters', Jenůfa, The Cunning Little Vixen, Sonata 1. X.1905, 'From the Street', From the House of the Dead, Sols; Vienna State Opera Chorus, Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra / Charles Mackerras, the Sinfonietta, and Taras Bulba.
Photo credit: Österreichische National bibliothek / Austrian National Library