Beethoven | Violin Sonatas – I

Winner of Diapason d’Or 2016, category Chamber Music
Winner of Diapason d’Or 2016, category Best Sound recording
Winner of Diapason d’Or de l’Année 2016

‘Among all the possible distinctions that can be made between musicians, one might suggest one between the impetuous and the reflective. Between those who, seized by carefree enthusiasm for a piece, programme it all over the world as fast as they can, and those who, conscious of their responsibility towards a composer’s works, hesitate at length before granting themselves the right to try it out for the first time. Our two contrasting temperaments nonetheless both tend towards the reflective side of this divide. So why are we presenting here, at the ripe old age of twenty-eight, our recording of these three Beethoven sonatas, which might seem the most blithely impetuous of undertakings?

In 2012, Gilles Ledure, director of Flagey (Brussels), surprised us by suggesting we 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. The opportunity to explore a cycle of this stature promised to be a transformative experience in many respects.

Since then, these sonatas have travelled with us. Naturally – and fortunately – both of us have done other things too. But these ten monuments of musical architecture and expression are always somewhere in the back of our minds.

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.’

Lorenzo Gatto & Julien Libeer