The album is a sort of musical history lesson on the violin sonata. What are the key developments you wanted to highlight from Mozart’s Op. 1 to Beethoven’s Kreutzer?
Richard and I have always been fascinated by the history of the violin sonata. In the 1750s to around the 1770s it was rooted in the mating rituals of the middle-class.
Richard Tognetti and Erin Helyard. Photo © Prudence Upton
As music was one of the few acceptable ways for courting couples to mingle the structures of chamber music reflected the relative talents of male and female amateurs. Men played the flute, violin, or cello and women played the keyboard and harp. As the woman was generally better practiced (music was an “accomplishment” she was obliged to use in order to attract the eye and ear of courting gentleman) her music was flashy and brilliant and more public facing. Men were less well practised – if you were too musical you attracted suspicion that you might have wasted your time on idle pursuits. So, men had to play just well enough to accompany the ladies but not well enough to make it...