‘Mozart & Schubert: Sonatas & Sonatinas’

  • David Breitman and Beth Wenstrom will perform at the Old Meeting house in Francestown on Monday. Courtesy Photo

Thursday, August 02, 2018 3:11PM

“Mozart & Schubert: Sonatas & Sonatinas” with David Breitman, fortepiano and Beth Wenstrom, violin is coming to the Old Meeting House in Francestown on Monday at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $25.

In 1778, at the ripe age of 22, Mozart presented a second “opus 1.” This was published in Paris, Sonatas for keyboard and violin – six sonatas, K. 301–306, two of which are on this evening’s program. Almost 40 years later, Schubert composed the set of three pieces that are today known as “Sonatinas” – his op. 137 from 1816. They are substantial, four-movement works, but they do resemble the Mozart sonatas in one important respect: they are playable on the same five-octave fortepiano that Mozart composed for. We don’t know whether Schubert consciously looked to the Mozart pieces as models, but it is tempting to picture Schubert (who hadn’t written anything for this combination before) playing through Mozart’s opus 1, then picking up his pen.

Pianist David Breitman directs the Historical Performance program at Oberlin. He is equally at home with the fortepiano and the modern piano, and enjoys both solo and ensemble playing. He has recorded the Mozart piano-violin sonatas on historical instruments with Jean-François Rivest for Analekta. His collaboration with baritone Sanford Sylvan spans more than thirty years, with several hundred recitals and four CD’s, ranging from Schubert’s Die schöne Müllerin, to the premiere recording of The Glass Hammer, a major song cycle by the Cuban-American composer Jorge Martin.

Beth Wenstrom is a dynamic performer, taking her skills as chamber musician, soloist, concertmaster and orchestral violinist around the US and internationally with a variety of ensembles. She has been praised for her “vitality and eloquent phrasing, as well as agility” (The Strad) and The New Yorker has described her chamber performances as “elegant and sensual, stylishly wild.” Beth continued her education with a BM from Oberlin Conservatory, an MM from NEC and a DMA from SUNY Stony Brook. She received a Graduate Diploma from The Juilliard School in the inaugural class of the historical performance division.