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In your car, at work, or at home, enjoy CapRadio's relaxing and inspiring selection of classical music. Our daily playlists provide information on the pieces, performers and composers featured, plus links if you're interested in buying music.
Monday – Friday, 6 a.m. – 7 p.m.on Music Station
"Kreutzer Sonata" by Karl Fedorovich [K.F.] Saxen [PD]
Beethoven's "Kreutzer Sonata" so inspired Leo Tolstoy that he wrote an entire short story around it, basically about the effect music has on the listener (which became central to the story of the movie “Immortal Beloved” with script dialogue lifted almost verbatim from Tolstoy).
But regarding the Sonata itself in Beethoven's time. He originally dedicated it to the bi-racial violinist George Bridgetower, with whom he got along famously and who premiered the work (with Beethoven at the piano) in May of 1803 in a performance between friends that was so spectacular Beethoven jumped up from his piano bench, mid performance, to hug Bridgetower. But after that premiere performance Beethoven and Bridgetower were drinking and Bridgetower apparently insulted a woman Beethoven admired. Enraged, Beethoven removed the dedication to Bridgetower, dedicating it instead to the man considered the finest violinist of the day, Rodolphe Kreutzer, whose playing Beethoven admired but met briefly only once and wasn't particularly impressed with his personality. Kreutzer wasn't fond of Beethoven's music and even told Hector Berlioz that the Sonata was “outrageously unintelligible” and is not known to have ever played it. Beethoven never spoke to Bridgetower again, who was bitter the rest of his life. And if it weren't for Beethoven's dedication to him, Kreutzer's name might likely have been forgotten over time.
The dedication to Kreutzer, and the Sonata itself, passed with not much notice until the Tolstoy story appeared in 1889. Since then, and inspired by the Tolstoy story, stage productions, films, paintings and so on have been created bearing Kreutzer's name all because of his association to the Sonata, even though the Sonata had very little to do with Kreutzer (and only marginally with Tolstoy's story, to be honest). All this brought the public's attention to the Beethoven Sonata. Meanwhile, George Bridgetower has endured only as a footnote to most people. Save for poet Rita Dove who resurrected his name in her 2009 book of poems, "Sonata Mulattica: A Life in Five Movements and a Short Play.
The music that started all this, Beethoven's Violin Sonata #9, the "Kreutzer" Sonata, played by Itzhak Perlman, is today's Midday Masterpiece at 2:00 pm.
November 7, 2023
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