March 8, 2014: Alexandre Da Costa and Wonny Song

Aimez-vous Brahms?  “Yes! Truly, madly, deeply – and passionately”, answer violinist Alexandre Da Costa and pianist Wonny Song.

They have performed these three Brahms violin sonatas (for piano and violin) all around the globe more than sixty times in the last few years and have just recorded them. So we are guaranteed the most polished program possible from two sensitive virtuosi.
“Even at age 12, as friends growing up in Montreal, Wonny and I were drawn to these pieces and tried to play them. They were irresistible to our young hearts and minds.  Now our view has fully matured, of course, but we continue to be struck by learning something new each time we play them together. Like the members of a string quartet, we have an absolute collaboration and continue to be exquisitely responsive to every nuance one of us may feel at any moment.  What we offer to the Virtuosi audience is a beautiful journey through the later years of Brahms’ life,” said Alexandre.

Melvin Berger in his Guide to Sonatas wrote that Brahms was able to infuse all of his compositions with the passion and powerful personal emotions that characterize nineteenth-century Romantic music.

The first violin sonata reflects an attempt to set the rain in spring to music – calling out to the rain to reawaken childhood dreams and to recollect once again songs from the past.

The second sonata is like a caress, with radiant music suffused with glowing intimacy, sweetness and gentility.

The third sonata is in some ways the apotheosis of the three sonatas. It goes far beyond the previous sonatas in scope and scale, in dramatic sweep, and in virtuosic demands on both players.
The finale pushes both instruments to the limits of their sound production, achieving effects that are almost symphonic in impact.  As Clara Schumann wrote to Brahms about the third sonata, “What a wonderfully beautiful thing you have once more given us.”

Small wonder that Alexandre and Wonny could devote so much of their musical lives to these three works.

For a YouTube sample of the third sonata, try Perlman and Ashkenazy [click here]

See you Saturday night!