Magazine article Czech Music

Frantisek Novotny & Rumi Itoh: Sonatas for Violin and Piano

Magazine article Czech Music

Frantisek Novotny & Rumi Itoh: Sonatas for Violin and Piano

Article excerpt

Frantisek Novotny & Rumi Itoh

Sonatas for Violin and Piano

(Mozart, Saint-Saens, Grieg)

Frantisek Novotny--violin, Rumi Itoh--piano.

Production: Vit Roubicek. Text: Cz., Eng., Japanese. Recorded: Sep. 2006, Czech Radio Studio, Prague. Released: 2008. TT: 61:55. DDD. I CD Radioservis CR0403-2.

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The art of Frantisek Novotny has never been of the dazzling sensational kind that attracts huge publicity, but is instead distinguished for soundness of approach and humility. His new CD, which offers one of the earlier Mozart sonatas alongside sonatas by the Late Romantics Saint-SaDns and Grieg, shows the same features, and his partner here is the Japanese pianist Rumi Itoh, who works with a number of Czech musicians. The CD confirms that it is the interpretation of the Mozart that causes the biggest headaches. The two-movement Sonata in E minor K 304 (300c) was written by the then twenty-two-year-old composer in the spring of 1778 in Paris, where Mozart for the first time was to have to face up to the fact that his days as an admired young prodigy were long behind him, and where he was also to suffer his first personal tragedy--the death of his mother in July. Mozart's early biographer Otro Jahn spoke of the "deeply tragic tones" of this sonata and asked whether the cause was "memories of his catastrophic affair of the heart in Mannheim (...) or a feeling of isolation in a foreign, unfriendly city". Obviously, however we can hardly attribute the peculiar split personality of this sonata to events that had not yet happened. Mozart arrived in Paris with his mother on the 23rd of March. He had already conceived the idea of writing a series of violin sonatas in Mannheim and even acknowledged the impulse for them--the Divertimenti da camera a Cembalo e Violino by the Dresden capellmeister Josef Schuster, which he had sent to his sister Nannerl in October 1777 with the postscript, "... I have often played them and they are not bad, I'm going to write 6 of the sort". Mozart had actually written some of these intended duets, as he called them, while still in Mannheim, and in Paris he completed the series. …

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