Fri, May 28 | Sparrow Live

Sigiswald Kuijken & Marie Kuijken Perform Mozart, Part Two

Meet my father Sigiswald Kuijken, the first "baroque violinist"! He is joining me for this series of intimate Mozartian chamber music.
Sigiswald Kuijken & Marie Kuijken Perform Mozart, Part Two

Time & Location

May 28, 8:00 PM GMT+2 – Jun 28, 8:00 PM GMT+2
Sparrow Live

About the Event

It is "musical heaven"  to play together with my eminent father. We really share one musical soul... Sigiswald Kuijken is a well-known authority in baroque violin, and the charismatic leader of the fine baroque orchestra La Petite Bande. Since more than 50 years he's been a pioneer in authentic performance practice of baroque and classical music. It’s thanks to being born in this highly artistic entourage that I have been challenged to mature my own musical truths.

Enjoy Part Two of this series! We plan for more Mozart sonatas  in the future.

The instruments and style

His Grancino violin (17th century, Italy) and my copy of a Stein fortepiano (original around 1780) know each other very well too, for having played many times together, both in concerts and on recordings. They sound perfectly together and offer you the experience of listening to real 18th century sounds, those that Mozart actually composed for. We play these instruments with according style and techniques. The "baroque violin" is not held with the chin, strings are made of gut, and the bow used in this concert is an original classical bow. Vibrato, for example, returns to the embellishment it was at Mozart's times, and is used only on longer notes that "deserve" it musically, rather then being a constant habit used on nearly every note, as has become the standard in violin playing since the romantic school and musical taste.

The music

Mozart's sonatas for violin and fortepiano started out mostly as fortepiano sonatas with accompaniment of the violin, then gradually evolved towards more equally important parts for both instruments. Beethoven, Schubert and later composers have been inspired by these marvellous pieces, for their own violin & piano sonatas.

Mozart composed a first bunch of these sonatas in 1778 in Mannheim, a city where he stayed 5 months, on his way to Paris. He was 22, not a wonder-boy anymore, and he was searching for an employment. Mannheim was one of the major musical centers in Europe at that time. It enjoyed an orchestra of high level, and Mozart was introduced to many musicians. We can only imagine how his life could have developed differently had he been offered an employment at the local court. Or else, if he would have realised his reckless plan of accompanying  Aloysia Weber (a young soprano he fell in love with in Mannheim) to Italy in search of operatic success for both of them... Love, hopes and dreams, that in those months surely contributed to the creation of masterpieces such as operatic scenes for Aloysia, and... sonatas for violin and fortepiano.

In Part One of this series we play for you KV 304 in e minor which is one of these gems, and KV 376 in F major which was composed just 4 years later, during his first year in Vienna, where Mozart decided to live as an independent musician.

In Part Two we play two other Mannheimer sonatas, KV 302 in E flat Major and KV 296 in C major.

Both in Part One and Part Two of this series, in between the sonatas a shorter piece of Mozart for solo fortepiano is played.

Sigiswald Kuijken

Sigiswald Kuijken was born in Belgium. He came into contact with early music at a very young age, together with his brother Wieland. Consequently he studied violin at the conservatories of Bruges and Brussels, completing his studies in 1964. Studying on his own, he gained a thorough knowledge of specific 17th- and 18th-century performance techniques and conventions of interpretation on violin and viola da gamba. This led in1969 to the introduction of a more authentic way of playing the violin, whereby the instrument was no longer held under the chin, but lay freely on the shoulder. This was to have a crucial influence on the approach to the violin repertoire, and was consequently adopted by many players starting in the early 1970s.

From 1964 to 1972, Sigiswald Kuijken was a member of the Brussels-based Alarius Ensemble (with Wieland Kuijken, Robert Kohnen and Janine Rubinlicht), which performed throughout Europe and in the United States. He subsequently undertook individual chamber music projects with a number of Baroque music specialists, chief among which were his brothers Wieland and Barthold and Robert Kohnen, as well as Gustav Leonhardt, Frans Bruggen Anner Bylsma and René Jacobs.

In 1972, with the encouragement of Deutsche Harmonia Mundi and Gustav Leonhardt, he founded the Baroque orchestra La Petite Bande, which since then has performed in a multitude of international festivals and concert series throughout Europe, Australia, South America, China and Japan, and has made many recordings for a number of labels (including Deutsche Harmonia Mundi, Seon, Virgin, Accent, Denon, Hyperion, Challenge), featuring instrumental as well as vocal music, operas and oratorios from the Baroque and Classical periods, especially Bach and Mozart.

In 1986 Sigiswald founded the Kuijken String Quartet (with François Fernandez, Marleen Thiers and Wieland Kuijken), which specialises in the quartets and quintets (with Ryo Terakado as first violist) of the Classical period. Recordings of quartets and quintets by Mozart and Haydn have appeared on Denon.

In 2004 Sigiswald Kuijken reintroduced the Violoncello da Spalla (shoulder cello, very probably the instrument Bach had in mind when writing his six cello solos), performing concerts and recording Bach and Vivaldi.

From 1971 to 1996, Sigiswald Kuijken taught Baroque violin at the Koninklijk Conservatorium in The Hague and from 1993 to 2009 at the Koninklijk Muziekconservatorium in Brussels. In addition, he has for many years been in demand as a guest teacher at a number of institutions (including the Royal College of Music in London, Salamanca University, the Accademia Chigiana in Siena, the Conservatoire of Geneva, the Musikhochschule of Leipzig).

Since 1998, Sigiswald Kuijken occasionally conducts “modern” symphonic orchestras in romantic programs ( Beethoven, Schumann, Brahms, Mendelssohn).

On 2 February 2007, Sigiswald Kuijken received an honorary doctorate of the K.U. Leuven.

He was granted in February 2009 the prestigious 'Life Achievement Award of the Flemish Government'.

In December 2015 he received the 'Golden medal from the Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Sciences and Arts', and in January 2016 he received the 'Klara career prize' from Klara.

In 2018, Sigiswald was awarded a 'Lifetime Achievement Award' by Rema.

He continues to record and perform as violin and violoncello da spalla soloist, and as the charismatic leader of La Petite Bande.

Marie Kuijken

Fortepianist, soprano, opera coach, and stage director Marie Kuijken was born into the Belgian musical family Kuijken, pioneers in the field of historically informed performance practice. She studied piano at the Brussels Royal Conservatory in the nineties and has been living in Italy since 2002. After her diploma, she autonomously specialized in the Mozartian fortepiano. Over the years she’s regularly performed the fortepiano in Belgium, Italy, throughout Europe and in Turkey – including solo recitals, in duo with her father Sigiswald Kuijken, with her sister Veronica Kuijken, and more. In more recent years, she has also developed as harpsichordist.

As a soprano, Marie Kuijken specializes in 18th century repertory. She’s colaborated with baroque  orchestra La Petite Bande in numerous productions, performing sacred music, and opera alike. In  the late nineties, she made an autonomous study on rhythmical prose, performing 18th century  German spoken melodrama as an actress with orchestra. This fascinating experience led her to further studies over the years, especially on the poetic rhythm of 18th century Italian opera- libretti. In this way she rediscovered the 18th century art of musical declamation. Simultaneously, during the years as a singing actress, she incorporated the art of Baroque Gesture into her own theatrical body language.

As these knowledge and practices matured into a comprehensive vision of historically informed performance & staging of 18th century opera, Marie Kuijken naturally evolved into an expressivity coach for opera singers, and into an operatic stage director. From 2012 on, together with Sigiswald Kuijken, she has been leading the La Petite Bande Academy where she has coached and staged singers using her unique approach. Since 2014, she has led and staged productions of Haydn and  Hasse operas with La Petite Bande; in 2016 and 2019 she has staged student productions at the Paris Conservatoire National Supérieur (CNSMDP). Thanks to her unique vision and approach, historically informed opera performance becomes a fresh, warm hearted and joyous experience for the public and for the singers involved.

 

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