Beethoven | Violin Sonatas – III

So we’ve got there.

Complementing the CD’s released in 2016 and 2018, this third volume of Beethoven’s sonatas concludes the complete cycle. Two halls with superior acoustics and possessing symbolic value for us played host to the recording sessions: the Théâtre Populaire Romand in La Chaux-de-Fonds, where the adventure on disc began in 2016, and the Salle Flagey in Brussels, where the whole thing began back in 2012.

We’ve come full circle. It’s in the can.
So why does this moment seem to open more doors than it closes?

First of all, because recording is an astonishingly dynamic process. Three days in the merciless company of microphones can sometimes teach you more than six months of solitary rehearsal. And since the new light they shed on the music usually starts getting through to you only once you’ve already left the studio, the recording becomes a stage in an evolution that suddenly reveals fresh perspectives.

This is all the more true when the score on the music desk bears the signature of Beethoven. In his 250th year, he emerges supreme, still as full of vitality and wisdom as ever, giving the lie to those who want to ‘dust him off’, for whom the simple fact that music is older than they are means it must be forced into the mould of their own time (how?) or disappear altogether. Whether one prefers this sonata or that one, there is not a single bar in this corpus that has lost an iota of its beauty and truth.

No masterpiece is so soluble in its analysis as to make direct experience of it superfluous. For both listener and performer, it’s only the journey that counts, and Beethoven will never give up before the rest of us do. Hence, in completing this set, we are only putting our luggage down for a moment, for just as long as it takes the horizon to shift again. We will set out once more tomorrow, well aware that we will never get there; and that is half the pleasure of our job. The other half is being able to share it with you.

Lorenzo Gatto & Julien Libeer