Beethoven’s “Spring” Sonata for Piano and Violin is one of my all-time favorite works for the violin. Though Beethoven himself did not give the sonata the moniker of “Spring,” it perfectly captures the gentle, singing loveliness of this sonata. The brief, stormy episodes are always followed by a return to gentleness, which, to me, is a message to try to appreciate the beauty in the world and people around us even during difficult times. The
second movement is a particularly beautiful slow movement, with a lullaby-like melody that inspired Schubert.
This Romance by pianist and composer Clara Schumann is the first of a set of three, all of which she dedicated to her dear friend, the virtuoso violinist Joseph Joachim. The two even went on tour together with this piece. The “Romance” was originally a vocal genre, and this first romance is particularly passionate and singing. It has a beautiful dialogue between the violin and piano that sounds like two good friends having a conversation.
This Suite by African-British composer and violinist Samuel Coleridge-Taylor is beautifully simple and nostalgic. The Pastorale evokes images of the idyllic English countryside. The beautiful Cavatina is my favorite movement and truly sounds like an aria. The Barcarolle is a song traditionally sung by Venetian gondoliers, and you can picture the swaying back and forth of the gondola as you listen. The Contemplation ends the Suite on a more somber note, as if you are reminiscing about earlier, happier times but also returning back to reality.
Bruch’s Scottish Fantasy combines German Romanticism with Scottish folk songs, making it one of the most unique violin concertos in the repertoire and one of my favorites. It is a piece I personally connect with because of my own Scottish heritage. The Introduction brings us into the beautiful rolling hills of the Scottish countryside and leads into the hauntingly beautiful “Through the Wood Laddie” of the 1st movement. The lively “The Dusty Miller” of the 2nd movement pays homage to the Scottish folk music tradition, and the heartbreaking “I’m A’Doun for Lack O’Johnnie” of the 3rd movement makes it one of the most moving in the repertoire. The “Hey Tuttie Tatie” of the 4th movement evokes the fierce, determined bravery of the Scottish people, but the final section of this movement again brings us back to the hauntingly beautiful place of the 1st movement.
I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to the people who have helped me make this dream possible. To my wonderful teacher and mentor, Mark Lakirovich, thank you for believing in me from the very beginning as both a person and a violinist and for helping me to believe that I can achieve anything I set my mind to. To Ahra, for being such a joy to make music with, it has been an absolute privilege to work with you. To my amazing parents, Sharon and Marty Kiel, thank you for being my constant cheerleaders. You have always been there to help me navigate the bumps in the road and to celebrate the successes. To my former teachers, thank you for your fantastic teaching that has made this recital possible. To my wonderful Longy family, thank you for accepting me for who I am and for believing in me even when I haven’t always believed in myself. I am so thrilled that I will be here for another 2 years in Longy’s Master’s program!