Art of the Sonata vol. II (2011)

Brahms, Ysaye

Petteri Iivonen

Johannes Brahms dedicated his Violin Sonata No. 3 to Hans von Bu?low; it premiered with violinist Jenö Hubay in Budapest during the winter of 1888 with Brahms himself at the piano. This is the darkest and most severe of his three sonatas, and was soon taken up by Josef Joachim, who programmed it and played it repeatedly. Along with Vier ernste Gesänge, this sonata remains my favorite of Brahms’ compositions, possibly because it careens so calculatedly between heart-racing nervous tension and glorious melody. As was so often the case with Brahms, the composer had little confidence in this work when it was complete. He delayed sending it to his friend Clara Schumann because he feared it was not good enough for her to like it and Brahms didn’t want her to share it with Joachim unless she felt it would pass muster. When Brahms finally did share it with Clara Schumann, she responded with appropriate enthusiasm for this great work of art.
Some scholars note that Brahms’ piano parts in his sonatas and vocal music reach even higher levels of sophistication than the violinist’s or singer’s lines. There is certainly a healthy give and take between violin and piano in this sonata, but the piano part at least equals if not surpasses the violin part in subtlety. Regardless, Petteri and Kevin capture the listener in an unrelenting musical grip until the sonata’s satisfying conclusion.

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Petteri Iivonen

Petteri Iivonen was born in 1987, and began to study the violin at the Helsinki Conservatory when he was four years old. Petteri also studied the piano as a student and remains an accomplished pianist. Petteri won the Erkki Melartin chamber music competition when he was fifteen: Petteri’s nuanced talent as a musical collaborator (as a partner who listens) remains easy to hear even in his violin solo and concerto repertoire. Since 1997, Petteri’s principal teachers have been Tuomas Haapanen and Hagai Shaham. Petteri continues to study despite his increasingly busy concert schedule of solo recitals and concertos in the United States, Germany, Belgium, Finland, the Netherlands, Israel, Portugal, Spain and Italy. Iivonen has performed with Paul Neubauer and David Grossman of the New York Philharmonic, and raised money for the Los Angeles Philharmonic in a special Choral room benefit at Walt Disney Concert Hall. Petteri was invited to perform with pianist Ryan MacEvoy McCullough to open The Broad Stage in Santa Monica in 2008. Last year Iivonen performed the Tchaikovsky violin concerto under the baton of Zubin Mehta, and based on this performance was immediately invited to play the gala opening night concert with the Israel Philharmonic with whom Petteri performed the Bruch Violin Concerto No. 1. As I write these notes, Petteri is preparing for a South American tour with Zubin Mehta and is scheduled for more concerto performances with major orchestras in Europe, especially the Tchaikovsky, Bloch and Sibelius concertos for which Petteri has become famous. Immediately after playing in South America, Petteri flies to Los Angeles to join Kevin Fitz-Gerald for a private concert and dinner in the home of Ann Moore Mulally to celebrate the release of this album. While much of Petteri’s playing is exceptionally beautiful, he never tries to make the sound "pretty," I have heard very few violinist’s with Petteri’s ability to control color and timbre, and even fewer who use this ability for such musical and appropriate ends. For our recording Petteri plays a Ferdinandus Gagliano violin, built in 1767, kindly loaned to him by OKO Bank Art Foundation. Kevin plays New York Steinway serial number 567908.

Kevin Fitz-Gerald

Canadian pianist Kevin Fitz-Gerald performs in concert halls around the world as a soloist, has recorded with seven record labels including Yarlung Records, and performs regularly in partnership with other musicians including Patrick Gallois, Stephen Isserlis, Richard Stolzman, Petteri Iivonen, Alan Civil, Camilla Wicks, Midori Goto, Eudice Shapiro, Milton Thomas, Karen Tuttle, Donald McInnes, Ronald Leonard, and the Bartok, St. Petersburg and St. Lawrence String Quartets. Kevin also performs four-hands piano works with his wife Bernadene Blaha. In addition to his position as Professor of Piano Performance and Collaborative Arts at the USC Thornton School of Music in Los Angeles, Mr. Fitz-Gerald is also a regular visiting artist teacher at the Banff School of Fine Arts, a frequent guest master class teacher at The Colburn School for the Performing Arts in Los Angeles, and serves as visiting faculty at many other national and international music festivals and institutions throughout North America, South America, Asia and Australia. Kevin was born in Kelowna, British Columbia and received full scholarships to study at the Victoria Conservatory of Music, The Banff Centre School of Fine Arts and the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto where his principal teachers were Marek Jablonski, Robin Wood and Alma Brock-Smith.
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Art of the Sonata vol. II (2011)

Brahms, Ysaye

Petteri Iivonen

Microphones: AKG Tube - Gearworks Pro Audio
Producer: Bob Attiyeh, Jacob Horowitz
Recording Engineer: Bob Attiyeh
Recording location: Alfred Newmann Hall, Los Angeles
Recording Type & Bit Rate: Analog to DSD256

This album was recorded to Analog tape. It was then transferred to the DSD bit rate indicated above.

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1.
Violin Sonata No. 3 in D Minor Op 108 Allegro
Brahms
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2.
Violin Sonata No. 3 in D Minor Op 108 Adagio
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Violin Sonata No. 3 in D Minor Op 108 Un poco presto e con sentimento
Brahms
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Violin Sonata No. 3 in D Minor Op 108 Presto agitato
Brahms
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5.
Sonata No. 4- I. Allemanda
Ysaye
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Sonata No. 4- II. Sarabande
Ysaye
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Sonata No. 4- III. Finale
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