Ladislav Kupkovič: Chamber Music for Violin and Piano

Music composer, conductor and pedagogue Ladislav Kupkovič was born on March 17th, 1939 in Bratislava. He graduated from Bratislava conservatoire and from the Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava where he studied the violin and conducting. He was the conductor of orchestra ensemble Young Hearts, the member of the orchestra Lúčnica and the Slovak Philharmonic orchestra. In 1963 he initiated the formation of the ensemble Music of the Present Day that focused on musical performance of experimental music. He is ranked among the most-active young composers. In 1967 he won the prestigious award Igric for best film music of the year. For his distinctive song writing and performances he was awarded scholarship in 1969 that offered him annual creative stay in West Berlin. After his study stay he emigrated for West Germany and was employed in Köln. In 1973 he accepted the post at the Hochschule für Musik, Theater und Medien (Hannover University of Music, Drama and Media) in Hannover in the fields of New music, music theory and composition, where he was appointed a university professor in 1976. Since the nineteen-seventies, he began to compose tonal music which was a shift from his avant-garde works. In addition to the successful pedagogical activity he produced rich and diverse musical genres that contain three operas, seven symphonies, concertos and sonatas, string quartets, small virtuoso songs and hundreds pieces of film, television and stage music. For Missa Ioannis Pauli Secundi he was awarded 1st prize at Kirchenmusikwoche Neuss (Church Music Week Neuss). Since 1990 he regularly visited Slovakia. In 1996 he became the honorary citizen of Cífer. In May 2016 he was awarded Special Prize of the Slovak Copyright Protection Association of Slovak music culture. He died on 15 June, 2016 in Hannover.

Béla Kéler: Waltzes for Violin and Piano

In his early stage of composing, Béla Kéler wrote 49 waltzes without opus number, mainly for piano. Since 1845 he wrote 27 waltzes for orchestra with opus number. Generally he transcribed them for violin and piano, piano solo, and piano at four hands. All waltzes have a fixed structure: Introduction, five independent dances and finale. The waltz German emotional life op. 88 was completed by Kéler at 29th of March 1870. It´s manuscript belongs to the collection of the Šariš museum at Bardejov. The first performance took place at 21st of March 1871 in Wiesbaden. Kéler performed the waltz On the beautiful Rhine I think of you, op. 83 for the first time at 28th of August 1868, after his return from Bartfeld. The waltz represents a memory on Kéler´s home town. The introducing notes of this waltz are engraved on Kéler´s gravestone in Wiesbaden. In its quality this composition was often compared to Johann Strauss´ waltz "The blue Danube". It is unknown when the waltz Under the blue sky of Italy was composed. Obviously this is one of Kéler´s last waltzes, which has not been printed and didn´t get an opus number. The single dances have uncommon names. In the finale "Addio Italia" the Neapolitan song "Santa Lucia" is quoted. The waltz The last hours of luck, op. 100 was finished by Kéler at 22nd of November 1872 and one month later was performed for the first time. In the introduction an imaginary clock strikes eleven times into the last hour of gambling in a casino of Wiesbaden, described in five dances. The work ends by quoting the German song "So good bye, you silent domicile". Kéler finished the waltz From Rhine to Danube, op. 138 at 17th of March 1876. By German and Austrian motifs he gives an atmosphere of the two European rivers at which he worked. The composition Austria-Hungary waltz, op. 91 was finished by Kéler at 25th of January 1871. In the introduction he presents Hungarian and Austrian folk-songs. During the waltz he uses motifs of Austrian and Hungarian nature in impressive contrast and ends with fragments of the Rákóczi march and the Emperor hymn by Haydn.

Czechoslovak Chamber Duo: Czech and Slovak Composers

Slovak composer Mikuláš Schneider-Trnavský (1881-1958) was one of the first half of the 20th century's leading proponents of Slovak music. His output focussed mainly on the Slovak heritage of folk songs, and on liturgical music. Trnavský did not compose much chamber music; his only truly important work in this field is the Sonata in G minor for Violin and Piano, Op. 12, of 1904. This composition reflects elements of the composer´s youthfully explosive personality: namely, wit, melodic invention, and a tendency towards lyrical idiom and meditativeness. The sonata has been recognized as one of the mainstays of Slovak classical chamber music.
Slovak composer and sound artist Peter Machajdík (b. 1961) occupies a unique place in the world of contemporary music. He won international acclaim for his multimedia project Intimate Music at the Inventionen 1994 festival in Berlin. Machajdík has worked with numerous chamber ensembles and orchestras, choreographers, dancers and visual artists. He writes music for film and theatre. He is the holder of Slovakia´s most prestigious classical music award, the Ján Levoslav Bella Prize. His Rosenberg Sonata for Violin and Piano, of 2010, is a composition whose structure sets it in a class of its own, and which plays around with the minimalist style, whilst at the same time attesting to the breadth of the composer´s musical and philosophical understanding. The Czechoslovak Chamber Duo premiered Rosenberg Sonata at the Forfest in Kroměříž, Czech Republic. The Czech composer Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904) is one of the giants of Czech national culture. His music has been played constantly both in his native country and worldwide for well over a century. The period between 1878 and 1880 is often characterized as the "Slavic" stage in Dvořák´s work and his output from that time reflects a distinct attachment to the legacy of Slavic folk music. These few years also marked the composer´s most prolific period, within which he produced a truly breathtaking number of compositions. Also dating from the end of this particular period is the relatively seldom performed Sonata in F major for Violin and Piano, Op. 57, which happens to be Dvořák´s sole work designated as "sonata." It was written in 1880, almost concurrently with the famous Violin Concerto in A minor, Op. 53, the former's lyrical mood standing in contrast to the latter. The structure of the sonata´s content, leading to its cheerful final movement, mirrors the pattern of the concerto. The sonata's compositional form, motivic treatment, and sonic symbiosis of the two instruments reveal the hand of a true master.