Anne-Sophie Mutter believes that all violin soloists owe a huge debt to Ludwig van Beethoven.
Before the composer wrote his solo works for the instrument, the violin was not on “an equal level with the piano,” said Mutter in a recent interview with the Korea Times. To help celebrate the 250th anniversary of the German composer’s birth, Mutter is touring with a program of three Beethoven works: Violin Sonata No. 4 in A Minor, Op. 23, Violin Sonata No. 5 in F Major, Op. 24 (Spring) and Violin Sonata No. 9 in A Major, Op. 47 (Kreutzer). With her longtime accompanist Lambert Orkis, she will perform the sonatas in an SCP Chamber Music series recital Jan. 22.
These three sonatas illustrate Beethoven’s musical journey and development, she said. “He totally changed the role of the violin.”
In the early 1800s, after era of Haydn and Mozart, the violin was not regarded as a soloist’s instrument, certainly not on a par with the piano. “In the Beethoven sonatas, Op. 23, and also in Op. 24 Spring, and also obviously in Op. 47 Kreutzer, Beethoven has realized the development of putting the violin on equal grounds with the piano,” she said. “These three sonatas showcase this development. Because particularly in the Spring, it is such a huge development from the Op. 23, which is still in a very Baroque style with fugato elements. Then in Spring, he has really found a way of [making] a very intimate and very strongly connected conversation between the violin and the piano.”