Masterclass: Rosalind Ventris on Vieuxtemps Viola Sonata op.36

Ventris

The British violist details the virtues of this underappreciated B flat major Sonata, with all of its structural surprises and ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ twists and turns

When Henri Vieuxtemps (1820–81) was nine years old his violin teacher, Charles de Bériot, was so impressed by his playing that he took him from his Belgian home for a concert tour in France. At the age of 13, on tour in Germany, he met Robert Schumann, who compared him to Nicolò Paganini. Bériot, the leading protagonist of the Franco-Belgian School of violin playing, influenced him greatly, and his own pupils later included Eugène Ysaÿe. He also became a serious, analytical composer, having studied counterpoint with Simon Sechter, who taught Bruckner and Eduard Marxsen, the latter of whom later taught Brahms…

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