Duo Concertante

 

The Valley Concert Society is delighted to present Duo Concertante at the Matsqui Centennial
Auditorium on Friday, May 6, 2022, at 7:30 p.m.

The duo is one of Canada’s musical treasures. The husband-and-wife team of violinist Nancy
Dahn and pianist Timothy Steeves is based in St. John’s NL where they are both professors of
music at Memorial University.

Duo Concertante has recorded extensively, including Bach’s six sonatas for violin and keyboard,
contemporary Canadian composers, and their most recent recording of works by Schubert.
The distinguished critic John Terauds had high praise for their three-CD set of all ten Beethoven
violin sonatas when he said “…these beautiful interpretations are so good right down to the
tiniest details that they deserve to be called a reference in…contemporary performance.”
One of those sonatas played a role in their selection of a name for their duo. Beethoven’s
Kreutzer Sonata bears the inscription “in stile molto concertante” signifying that the two
performers are equal, dynamic voices.

The opening piece on the program in Abbotsford is another of these sonatas by Beethoven,
Violin Sonata No. 5 in F major, Op. 24. Nicknamed “Spring”, this exquisite sonata is easily the
most popular of the ten that he composed.

Those of you who were at the Young Beethoven concert on April 8 will enjoy learning of a two-
fold connection between this work and George Zukerman’s commentary where he talked about
opus numbers as a clue to when these pieces were composed.

At that concert, George talked about Beethoven’s great Septet which was published in the year
1800 as Opus 20. The Spring Sonata being Opus 24 came close on the heels of the Septet. He
began it later that same year and published it early in 1801. It exhibits the same joyous spirit of
the earlier piece.

George also recounted the story of the obscure English composer Capel Bond and his frustrations
with his publisher. Beethoven ran into complications of his own with the publisher of this sonata.
He composed two sonatas late in 1800, Nos. 4 and 5, which he intended to publish as a pair
dedicated to his patron Count Moritz von Fries. As a connected pair, they would have been
catalogued together as Op. 23, Nos. 1 and 2. The first was more tempestuous, the second was
sunnier, a sort of yin and yang to each other.

For reasons unknown, the violin part for Sonata No. 4 was printed in a tall and narrow format,
the violin part for No. 5 was wide and squat. Being different sizes, they could not be bound
together and redoing them was too expensive, so they were published separately as Op. 23 and
Op. 24.

 

Tickets for this program are available online at www.valleyconcertsociety.com at $28 for adults
and $15 for students. For more information, call 604-289-3377.

I look forward to seeing you at the concert.

John Wiebe
President
The Valley Concert Society