My focus on Beethoven

The pleasures in performing and recording the Violin Concerto & Sonatas

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His clear, ringing tone, […] an ability to play the exposed high passages with pure intonation, […] an expressive, unmannered style that can transmit the work’s grandeur and nobility’

— Gramophone

Playing with Benjamin Levy was like meeting a soul mate. After the live performances, it was only fitting to record the Beethoven Concerto too.

As Lorenzo says, in an interview by Frederike Berntsen: ‘Beethoven’s freedom, his revolutionary sense of liberty, appeals to me greatly. The structure in his music is very strong, the rhythm powerful. At the same time, there is an idealistic, romantic undertone.’

Conductor Benjamin Levy: ‘We share a strong common ground; to avoid an overly romantic interpretation, we studied the historical practice of playing whilst using modern instruments. Our interpretation is a mix of old and new. We feel that our chamber music like approach makes this music stronger compared to a big orchestra.’

Lorenzo: ‘We do try to convey Beethoven’s message, but not by studying tempo and dynamics with rigor. If his message is one of revolution and ideals, intertwined with life’s tragedies, than why should we think small?’

Beethoven⎜Violin Concerto & Romances

Lorenzo Gatto and Benjamin Levy on their shared desire to bring out the essence and the modernity of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto and Romances.

Beethoven⎜ Romance in F major

Lorenzo Gatto / Orchestre de Chambre Pelléas / Benjamin Levy
Concertgebouw Amsterdam, 9 August 2014. A Green Room Creatives Production

‘Flowing notes by way of an impressive technique’ – NRC

Music is for me an expression of human fragility’

— Lorenzo Gatto

In 2012, Gilles Ledure, director of Flagey (Brussels), suggested Julien Libeer and Lorenzo Gatto they should give a complete cycle of the Beethoven violin sonatas there. The kind of offer you can’t refuse.

‘The music of Beethoven fashioned our culture: this spiritual child of the French Revolution is perhaps the first composer in our history to have embodied, in both his music and his life, the values of the Enlightenment. Which can only make him all the more appealing in these troubled and uncertain times.

It’s been three years now since our reunion around these sonatas began to structure our lives as musicians. And what started as a one-off project has turned into a major journey. A fixed period of time has been transformed into something long-term. Our awareness of this stimulated the urge to keep a sort of log. To mark the stages we go through, and to let the public listen.

So that’s what this recording is, no more, no less. A snapshot rather than an absolute statement. A logbook rather than a thesis. We hope that makes it all the more sincere.’

Julien Libeer & Lorenzo Gatto