I've felt bad for Rodolphe Kreutzer ever since I found out a few years back that he composed forty (40) operas, nineteen (19) violin concertos, and quite a bit of chamber music. Outside of being the second dedicatee of Beethoven's 9th Violin Sonata, Kreutzer is primarily remembered today for having written 42 etudes that deliberately put violin and viola students through the ringer. Violinists become fonder of the etudes as they age, but on the first pass through the book, there often is a lot of complaining. I imagine Kreutzer likely wrote his studies as quickly as he could---- so that he could get back to his serious work: operas and concertos!
The etudes have withstood the test of time and are recognized as the gold standard for developing the primary techniques used in the Classical era. Covering thirds, octaves, trills (in great depth!) etc. in some of the more awkward areas of the instrument, once you have been put through the paces of the Kreutzer book and run across a couple trills or a few thirds in a sonata or concerto--- it's now easy to execute.
However many of them are also quite musical! So I decided to take some excerpts and fragments from his etude book and write a new piece around them, with the idea being that the piece would be a bit of a 'trip down memory lane' for upper string players and (hopefully) an enjoyable duo even for those who aren't well acquainted with the original Kreutzer book.
Although Tanya and I usually perform as a viola duo (and I also have made a viola version of this), I thought it only appropriate that in honor of Kreutzer we record it on violins. I hope you like my (and Kreutzer's) tune:
This article has been archived and is no longer accepting comments.
Violinist.com is made possible by...
Discover the best of Violinist.com in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews.