Maurice Ravel; Sonate en quatre parties pour violon et violoncelle
J.S. Bach: Violin Partita No.2 in D minor BWV 1004
Gaspar Cassadó: Suite per Violoncello (1926)
Zoltan Kodaly: Duo for violin and violoncello, Op.7
Maurice Ravel’s Sonata for Violin and Cello was composed between 1920 to 1922 and was dedicated to Claude Debussy, who had died in 1918. Ravel openly admired Debussy for his musical achievements, but refused to accept accusations of imitating his work. Upon Debussy's death in 1918, Ravel became widely recognized as France's leading composer and was even offered the Légion d'Honneur, but being a man who considered popularity an offense, he publicly refused the decoration. Ravel stated that in this piece "the music is stripped down to the bone. The allure of harmony is rejected and increasingly there is a return of emphasis on melody." The Sonata was written following a period of physical and emotional recovery from the turbulence of the war, his own bout of dysentery, and the death of his mother. Ravel apparently knew Kodály’s 1914 Duo for violin and cello (and at its premiere in April 1922, Ravel’s Sonata was also labelled “Duo”) and there are clear intimations of Kodály and Bartók and Hungarian folk music.
The Chaconne by Johann Sebastian Bach forms the fifth and final movement of the Partita No. 2 in D Minor, BWV 1004. Written for solo violin, the Chaconne is one of the longest and most challenging entirely solo pieces ever composed for that instrument. Yehudi Menuhin called it "the greatest structure for solo violin that exists". It has been arranged for nearly every instrument: from the organ to the solo flute and even the marimba!
Bach composed the chaconne between 1718 and 1720. Historians speculate that Bach composed it after returning from a trip and found his wife (and the mother of seven of his children) had died. Brahms, in a letter to Clara Schumann described the piece like this “On one stave, for a small instrument, the man writes a whole world of the deepest thoughts and most powerful feelings. If I imagined that I could have created, even conceived the piece, I am quite certain that the excess of excitement and earth-shattering experience would have driven me out of my mind.
A ‘chaconne’ is a type of musical composition popular in the baroque era when it was much used as a vehicle for variation on a repeated short harmonic progression.
Gaspar Cassadó was a Spanish cellist and composer from Catalonia. He was born in Barcelona to a church musician father, and began taking cello lessons at age seven. When he was nine, he played in a recital where Pablo Casals was in the audience; Casals immediately offered to teach him. The city of Barcelona awarded him a scholarship so that he could study with Casals in Paris. He was also the author of several notable musical hoaxes notably the "Toccata that he attributed to Frescobaldi.
The Suite for solo cello came from one Cassadó's most prolific periods, in the mid-1920s. It consists of three dance movements: Preludio-Fantasia ; Sardana; and Intermezzo e Danza. The first movement includes quotations from Zoltán Kodály's Sonata for Cello Solo, Op. 8, and the famous flute solo from Maurice Ravel's ballet Daphnis et Chloé. The sardana of the second movement is a traditional dance from Catalonia.
Zoltán Kodály's Duo for violin and cello, was composed at the start of World War I, but not played in public until a full decade later. It has, together with Ravel’s Sonata, since become a cornerstone in the repertoire for violin and cello.
The Duo's three movements follow the traditional fast-slow-fast plan. The first movement (Allegro serioso, non troppo) is full of rhapsodic folk-music gestures “that gush forth from one instrument and then the other (Kodály was, after all, Bartók's comrade-in-arms in fusing together central European folk music and traditional art music)”. The solo cello ushers in the central Adagio, then the violin joins in with great, fluctuating passion. The finale begins with a wandering, rhetorical Maestoso e largamente, ma non troppo lento. After this introductory section, a sparkling Presto takes off.
Portuguese violinist André Gaio Pereira began his studies at the age of seven and made his solo debut two years later. Prize winner at several competitions, he has appeared as a soloist with Gulbenkian Orchestra, Metropolitana Orchestra and Algarve Orchestra. André is founding member and the first violin of the Tagus Quartet with whom he has appeared at Wigmore Hall and Cadogan Hall. In the 2015/2016 academic year he was distinguished as the highest graduand at the Royal Academy of Music.
Josh Salter studied at the Royal Northern College of Music where he was a scholarship holder and awarded prizes for cello and chamber music and as a postgraduate at the Royal Academy of Music, graduating with Distinction in July 2016. His principal teachers have been Nicholas Jones, Nick Trygstad and Felix Schmidt.
He looks forward to a performance with the Lincoln Symphony Orchestra, of Tchaikovsky’s Rococo Variations in June 2017. His chamber music performances include live broadcasts on BBC Radio 3, recitals at St-Martin-in-the-Fields, Wigmore Hall and St John’s, Smith Square. Festivals include Aberystwyth Musicfest, Lake District Summer Music, Suffolk Villages Festival, English Haydn Festival and Mendelssohn on Mull.
Josh regularly freelances with the Halle, BBC Philharmonic, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, City of London Sinfonia, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and Hanover Band.
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