Released on Warner Classics, this album celebrates the 40th anniversary of Kennedy Center honoree Midori’s professional debut
Beethoven wrote his ten sonatas for violin and piano across 15 years, between the ages of 26 and 41. Now available digitally, Japanese-American violinist Midori and French pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet have recorded the entire set, which will be released on CD in January 2023.
Although the duo has been long-time friends, they collaborated for the first time in the 2018/19 season with a highly successful tour of violin sonatas by Enescu, Schumann, Fauré, and Debussy. The following season, they planned a full tour and recording of Beethoven’s violin sonatas, in time for the composer’s 250th birthday anniversary.
Now cornerstone works in the violin repertoire, these sonatas offer a unique view into the composer and his ever-changing style and composition as he slowly began losing his hearing in his mid-20s. By the time he completed his tenth sonata in the set, he was almost completely deaf.
“My journey with Beethoven has been a kind of personal friendship,” said Midori. “Beethoven, who lived a life of struggles, including self-doubts, was never deterred, writing music of incredible beauty and hopefulness,” she continued. “He shows me — shows us — a path through our own challenges. Don’t be passive, never give up, be honest and daring by expressing oneself. He speaks to me as a companion, reminding me to always strive and stretch, through the good times and bad.”
“When you focus on just one composer, you begin to develop a very special bond not only with the music, but with that composer,” Thibaudet added. “You go through what happened to them, and see how that impacted their development as an artist. Playing these ten sonatas is like taking a journey through Beethoven’s life. It is a very fulfilling and very enriching experience, and I feel closer to Beethoven and his world than I ever did before.”
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Born in Osaka in 1971, Midori began her violin studies with her mother, Setsu Goto. A child prodigy by age 11, she was invited to perform with the New York Philharmonic by conductor Zubin Mehta — this season she celebrates the anniversary of this milestone.
Having recorded over 50 albums, Thibaudet has performed internationally for over 30 years. A two-time GRAMMY nominee, he is also the first-ever Artist-in-Residence at the Colburn School, which announced the Jean-Yves Thibaudet Scholarships in 2017.
Him and Midori are currently completing a world tour of the complete Beethoven sonatas, which began with performances at Dartmouth College, Chicago’s Symphony Center, and Tokyo’s Suntory Hall.