Treasured Tunes featuring Emanuel Gruber

Podcast Transcript


Welcome to Treasured Tunes where professors from the East Carolina University School of Music offer commentary about selected musical pieces. Please sit back and enjoy the music.

Emanuel Gruber Speaking

My name is Emanuel Gruber.
I am the cello professor of the School of Music at ECU.

For my first selection, I chose Beethoven Sonata Opus 5 No. 1 in F Major. Beethoven was 26 year old when he wrote his Opus 5 which includes the Sonata in F Major and Sonata in G Minor. Also the set of variations based on Haendel’s Oratorio Judas Maccabaeus. These pieces were dedicated to Wilhelm Friedrich II, the King of Prussia, for whom he wrote. But the playing itself was done by Beethoven with the french cellist Jean Louis Duport, who was a court cellist at the King’s Court and he was a virtuoso cellist, very known and obviously Beethoven loved to play with him. The Adagio Sostenuto, the first movement of the Sonata Opus 5 No. 1 is very special because it shows Beethoven even at his young age had a penchant for the philosophical, spiritual ideas and this music shows them very clearly. In particular the way he uses, pauses, this intermission of the sound when the music still goes on. It’s crucial to make his music successful or not and this is what I would like to present to you and to show you this great writing even at his early stages of composing.

Second selection is the second movement from the D major sonata Opus 58 by Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy. Bartholdy dedicated his early cello music to his brother Paul which includes variations and the first sonata Opus 45. But his second sonata he dedicated to a Russian or Polish aristocrat, Wilhorsky who performed these pieces very successfully and is very outgoing, very energetic, very happy music and the Scherzo is a combination of fun with singing and he gives the cello also a challenge to play the opening with Pizzicato, which means you pluck the strings and you have to do it well in order for it to sound funny. So it is a gorgeous movement in a great sonata.

My last selection is the fourth movement, the Dance from the Hasidic Suite composed by Joachim Stutschewsky. Joachim Stutschewsky was born into a family of Jewish klezmer musicians, Jewish folk musicians, and since his childhood he was very attracted by this music, so he wrote a whole collection of cello pieces based on this folk music. It is a very happy dance and it is done in a artistic way by Stutschewsky. Stutschewsky was very well known as a cellist, as a chamber musician, as a pedagogue, as a composer, as a transcription composer and also as a folklorist. So here the music is based on his collection of folklore music.

This has been a production of East Carolina University. To hear more, please visit the Treasured Tunes index.