<< -- 3 -- Robert Anderson FASCINATING SUGGESTIONS
While discussing the Op 30 sonatas, Richard Kramer is beguiled by the odd notion of equating
Beethoven's 'eviscerating' of Mozart with the encounter of Oedipus and Laius at the crossroads. His very
proper interest in the piano sonatas of the same period leaves Kramer hardly enough space for the
violin works themselves. As Suhnne Ahn indicates, the 'Kreutzer' sonata stands apart, not only because
its finale was written first, having been found too forceful a conclusion for Op 30 No 1 (all but the
crash of its initial chord); but also for its 'molto concertante' style, almost like a concerto in its
technical demands. William Drabkin takes up a lead from Tovey on the introduction to the 'Kreutzer'
in rigorous argument vis-à-vis relevant works of Mozart and piano concertos 3 and 4 of
Beethoven. He ranges impressively over both precedents and consequents.
Maynard Solomon also finds himself in Classical pastures when invoking Oedipus and Adonis as
heroes of the pastoral life (rather than risky love affairs), precisely where he would maintain the
Op 96 G major sonata has its essential being. If Solomon's imagination runs away with him, this is
not for the first time in his career; a searching and provocative Beethoven biographer, he is less
sure-footed when facing the music. All in all, the book needed more rigorous editing than it
received; if boredom sets in, I can strongly recommend a play-through of any sonata or, as second
best, recourse to a score and CD.
Copyright © 14 November 2004
Robert Anderson, London UK
The Beethoven Violin Sonatas
History, Criticism, Performance
Edited by Lewis Lockwood and Mark Kroll
University of Illinois Press, Urbana and Chicago, 2004
ISBN 0-252-02932-1, hardback, 164 pages