EUGEN SUCHOŇ (1908-1993)
Eugen Suchoň was born in Pezinok, Slovakia. His exceptional musical talent started to develop within his family environment. The active musical life in Pezinok encouraged him to pursue his composing career. At the Academy of Music and Drama in Bratislava, he studied two fields, conducting and the piano. As a 23-year-old, he enrolled at the Master´s studies of the Prague Conservatory, where he became a student of Vítězslav Novák. The works which he created during 1931 - 1938 convincingly showed that the blending of elements of Slovak folk music with modern compositional technique destined Eugen Suchoň to become the grounder of modern Slovak national music. Eugen Suchoň's compositional works were also accompanied by continuous pedagogical activities. He acted as a pedagogue at the Music and Drama Academy for Slovakia, soon he was appointed a professor of the Musical Education Department of the Slovak University in Bratislava. Until his retirement, he was active at the Musical Science and Education Department of the Faculty of Philosophy at Komenský University in Bratislava. Eugen Suchoň contributed also to the development of musical life. He was present at the founding of the Slovak Philharmonic, Academy of Performing Arts, or Bratislava Music Festival. At the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Eugen Suchoň's birth, this jubilee was included into the official UNESCO List of Anniversaries for 2008-2009.
Sonata A Flat Major op.1 for violin and piano ESD 45 (1930) is the first of four compositions which he wrote for the violin and a piano. Further were Fantasy and Burlesque, op.7, Sonatina op.11 and Poème macabre, op.17. Suchoň composed the sonata in 1929-30, while he was studying composition with Frico Kafenda in Bratislava. He finished the first part of the Sonata Allegro non troppo in the first half of 1929, the remaining two parts Lento and Allegro vivo, a year later. The work stands out by its sophisticated counterpoint, wealth of ideas and complicated rhythmical shapes. The core of the sonata is formed by frequent modulations, typical for late romantic harmonic thinking, which we find especially in Max Reger. The first part of the work has a lyrical-dramatic character, the second is lyrically cantabile and the third has the character of a scherzo.
KRZYSZTOF PENDERECKI (1933-2021)
Krzysztof Penderecki was born in Dębica, Poland. He privately studied music with Franciszka Skołyszewska, later with Artur Malawski and Stanisław Wiechowicz at the Academy of Music in Cracow. In 1959, three of his works won first prizes in a national competition organized by the Polish Composers' Union. Works, such as Anaklasis, Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima and St. Luke's Passion quickly spread abroad. Penderecki holds many domestic and international prizes. His pedagogical career developed in Germany, U.S.A. and Poland. He taught composition at Volkwang Hochschule für Musik in Essen, Germany, lectured at Yale University in New Haven, and at the Academy of Music in Cracow. Since 1973, he regularly conducted leading symphony orchestras in U.S.A. and Europe.
Penderecki is the author of two sonatas for the violin and piano - Sonata no.1 (1953) and Sonata no. 2 (1999), which is dedicated to the violinist Anne Sophie Mutter. The second sonata has five parts, the first with the second, and the fourth with the fifth are marked as attacca. The most important building element of the sonata is the rhythmic structure. The complicated internal structure of the individual beats permeates melodic lines of both instruments. In the work, there are contrasting compositional units, which bring out parts based on regular rhythmical structures. The Sonata is framed by two piano clusters. The first comes in the beginning violin introduction, with the second, in the final of the fourth part, the work climaxes. The Sonata starts as a Larghetto which smoothly changes to Allegretto scherzando. After the quarter-hour middle Notturno-Adagio, which is the centrepiece of the work, comes Allegro with thick harmonic and rhythmic movements. After a short violin cadenza, comes the final Andante with a reminiscing motive from a preceding musical material.