Justine Cormack

The 10 Beethoven Violin and Piano Sonatas

2 cycles – NZ and USA

A celebration of the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth

2020 is the perfect opportunity to perform Beethoven’s 10 violin and piano sonatas as a cycle and I’m doing this twice – first in my Central Otago neighbourhood in mid-February and then in Indianapolis, USA later in the year.

Kate Boyd, awesome American pianist and dear friend from my doctoral studies in the 90s at Stony Brook University, is joining me for this total treat – all in order to celebrate Beethoven’s creative genius in the 250th anniversary year of his birth.

Every one of the 10 sonatas is a unique gem and the cycle is a fabulous way to fully experience and celebrate both Beethoven’s compositional evolution as well as his unquestionable creative genius.

This project is truly inspirational for me and I’m sharing my experiences, challenges and insights through the process in my Beethoven Blog.

The Cycle:

Beethoven’s 10 sonatas for violin and piano form a wonderful set to be enjoyed over the course of three performances.

The first 3 sonatas, published as a set in 1798 under Opus 12 when Beethoven was 28, are impressive examples of his early maturity.

The next 6 fall within his middle period showing the full range of his expression. Both the 7th c minor sonata and the 9th “Kreutzer” sonata display the drama of the 5th Symphony, and the sunny and humorous 5th “Spring” sonata harkens to the Pastoral Symphony.

The beautiful 10th Sonata is a clear example of Beethoven’s radiant late style.

Our New Zealand, Central Otago Cycle -14, 15 & 16 Feb 2020

Our USA, Indianapolis Cycle – 29 Oct, 30 Oct & 1 Nov 2020

Our USA Violin and Piano Sonatas Cycle within a larger, year-long Beethoven celebration hosted by Butler University, Indianapolis – where Kate is professor of piano.

Concert 1: Thursday October 29, 7.30pm

More info on Butler University website

Concert 2: Friday October 30, 7.30pm

More info on Butler University website

Concert 3: Sunday November 1, 2pm 

More info on Butler University website

Our three performanes are at the Eidson-Duckwell Recital Hall, Butler University: 4600 Sunset Ave, Indianapolis.

These concerts are free and open to the public, and there will be a pre-concert talk 45 minutes prior to each performance.

Building Confidence

Radio New Zealang Concert asked me for advice around confidence, and in particular if it can be built. I believe it can. You can read what I had to say about it all on their website: Confidence Tricks – some tips for musical performance.

Effort, Age and Survival  

It is over a month since my last blog post and with the 6 weeks that have passed, we are well and truly in mid-summer here in Central Otago.

I have been systematically working through the 10 Beethoven violin sonatas, regularly inspired by the awesome landscapes outside my window, and accompanied by my trusty sidekick – Coco the cat.

It turns out one of the biggest current challenges is physical fatigue.

A reset from the inside out

Having previously performed 6 of the 10 Beethoven violin sonatas more than 20 years ago, it has been a lovely process coming back to the familiar, as well as discovering the new. Primarily due to the work I have been doing over the last 2 years getting to the nitty-gritty of my performance philosophies, these incredibly pristine works of Beethoven are proving to be an absolute gift for me.

Where to from here?

The next three months are super exciting for me, with 3 concerts confirmed in Mid-Feb 2020 for the performance of all 10 Beethoven sonatas within three days…and all in my new gorgeous neighbourhood of Central Otago.

It’s quite possible that I am naïve to the full enormity of this project – but one thing is for sure, sinking my teeth into these works again is a true treat, and the magnitude of the project is just what I am now needing at this point in my life.

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