German violinist Isabelle Faust and Russian pianist Alexander Melnikov, who last performed at Vanderbilt’s Blair School of Music in 2014, return this week for a remarkable residency, performing the entire Beethoven Sonatas for Violin and Piano in three consecutive concerts November 15-17 in Blair’s Steve & Judy Turner Recital Hall.
“Isabelle Faust and Alexander Melnikov are two of the most astonishing and accomplished musicians in the world,” said Mark Wait, Martha Rivers Ingram Dean of the Blair School of Music. “Both have important careers in Europe and are quickly becoming known in the United States. They performed an all-Beethoven program at Vanderbilt in January 2014, and it was so compelling that I invited them to perform the entire cycle of Beethoven’s 10 sonatas.”
The Faust and Melnikov recording of the complete Beethoven sonatas was released in late 2009 on the Harmonia Mundi label. The Guardian described the duo at the time as “ideal partners, wrestling with the musical dialogue with poise, imagination and freshness.” In its review, Gramophone said “the musical sleight of hand used by these expert players to focus the very different character of each sonata is in itself cause for wonder.” The recording received a Grammy nomination and won the Gramophone Award and ECHO Klassik Prize.
Faust won her first major competition, the 1987 Leopold Mozart Competition, when she was just 15 years old. Since then, she has pursued a successful and highly acclaimed solo career. Melnikov graduated from the Moscow Conservatory under Lev Naumov and has built his career on historically informed programs and performances.
Beethoven’s 10 sonatas for violin and piano have been described as the standard for violin and piano works, with both instruments treated equally.
“These sonatas are a milestone in the repertoire, ranging from Beethoven’s early years through his magisterial late works,” Wait said. “In the three evenings one will hear an overview of Beethoven’s entire creative process—a fascinating lens into this essential composer, whose works and energy astonish now as much as they did when he was alive.
“Simply stated, there is nobody I would rather hear perform these great sonatas than Isabelle Faust and Alexander Melnikov,” Wait said. “This will be a wonderful opportunity for Nashville audiences.”
The program for the Beethoven Sonatas for Piano and Violin is as follows:
- Sonata for Piano and Violin No. 1 in D Major, Op. 12, No. 1
- Sonata for Piano and Violin No. 2 in A Major, Op. 12, No. 2
- Sonata for Piano and Violin No. 3 in E-flat Major, Op. 12, No. 3
- Sonata for Piano and Violin No. 9 in A Major, Op. 47 “Kreutzer”
- Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 6 in A Major, Op. 30, No. 1
- Sonata for Violin and Piano No. 7 in c minor, Op. 30, No. 2
- Sonata for Piano and Violin No. 8 in G Major, Op. 30, No. 3
- Sonata for Piano and Violin No. 4 in a minor, Op. 23
- Sonata for Piano and Violin No. 5 in F Major, Op. 24 “Spring”
- Sonata for Piano and Violin No. 10 in G Major, Op. 96
Due to the unique nature of these performances and the intimacy of the hall, tickets are being sold. Tickets are $15 per concert or $40 for all three performances. Student tickets are $5 per concert or $12 for all three and require a valid student ID. Tickets are available via the Blair website or at the door. Free parking is available in West Garage (2500 Children’s Way) through the Children’s Way entrance.