After Kreutzer Anna Goldsworthy and Andrew Haveron

Beethoven’s Kreutzer Sonata, is described by musicians as a mountain to climb. Tolstoy, on the other hand in his novella of the same name, had a different opinion. He considered that the  first presto should not be played in a drawing room among ladies in low dresses but only on important significant occasions. He pronounced the second movement common and unoriginal, and the finale very weak.
It was an inspired idea to link the music and the novella in a performance which included a monologue and the sonata. Anna Goldsworthy has drawn on diary entries and writings of Sofia, Tolstoy’s wife, to craft a narrative which explores their troubled marriage relationship. The publication of the novella, with its portrayal of an adulterous wife, and the condemnation of sex, music and all things sensual, was a source of humiliation for Sofia, who judged that she would be seen as the wife in the story. In her novella, Who’s Fault, Sofia paints a very different portrait of the marriage relationship, with its inequality, emotional cruelty and disillusionment. Anna’s narrative, drawing on these sources, is an excellently crafted piece of writing. Each movement of the sonata is preceded by narration.
Beethoven’s Kreutzer Sonata has become one of the most popular of his violin sonatas. The two musicians, in the ballroom at Ayers House, a perfect setting for chamber music, played with spirit and energy, together with moments of calm, exploiting the expressive character of  this work. The relationship between violin and piano in his sonata is complex and compelling, one which Beethoven described as quasi come d’un concerto or almost like a concerto. It’s strong, not for the faint hearted, reflecting the troubled emotions of Beethoven at the time he composed it.
In this recital the mountain was climbed with seeming ease, and the relationship between violin and piano sensitively created, in a harmony which Leo Tolstoy and Sofia never realised.

After Kreutzer
Ayers House – 8-11 March
Anna Goldsworthy and Andrew Haveron

Emily Sutherland

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