A video blog of some thoughts I have about the Mahler 1 we are playing this week!
Many pieces and events as well as his own life influence Britten’s violin concerto but in my approach to the piece, the musical influence I studied the most was Beethoven, largely because of the following excerpt from the Cambridge Companion to Benjamin Britten:
“The strongest influence up to the middle of 1926, however, was Beethoven. Later diary entries show the extent of Britten’s admiration for him. On 13 November 1928 he declared Beethoven to be ‘First…in my list of Composers…and I think will always be’, while on 24 June 1929, after, hearing Kreisler’s recording of the Violin Concerto, he enthused, ‘Oh! Beethoven, thou art immortal; has anything ever been written like the pathos of the 1st & 2nd movements, and the joy of the last?”
Before my performance of the Britten with the Shepherd Symphony, I wanted to work on the Beethoven Concerto and see for myself how Britten was influenced and how the pieces might be linked. Beethoven is my favorite composer (I know we aren’t supposed to have favorites…) and I’m in the middle of my own project of doing all of the Beethoven Sonatas in recital but I took a break from just sonatas last semester and did a recital with Beethoven’s 7th sonata as well as his concerto, mimicking the Beethoven/Britten album of one of my own musical influences Janine Jansen, who’s recording of Britten was the first time I heard the piece many years ago. Here’s an excerpt of the second movement from my recital last semester…the audio is slightly muted for the first few seconds for whatever reason…