Joseph Bologne: Three Sonatas for Violin & Fortepiano, Op. 1b

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Violinist Andrew McIntosh and fortepianist Steven Vanhauwaert collaborated on a historically important volume of Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint Georges's Op. 1b sonatas on Olde Focus Recordings. Interest in Bologne's music has surged in recent years, exposing contemporary audiences to his refined catalogue. These works were published in 1781 during the height of his career, are in two movements each, and reflect Bologne's grounding in the elegant range of late 18th century aesthetics.


# Audio Title/Composer(s) Time
Total Time 43:11

Sonata No. 1 in Bb Major

01I. Allegro
I. Allegro
02II. Tempo di Menuetto
II. Tempo di Menuetto

Sonata No. 2 in A Major

03I. Allegro moderato
I. Allegro moderato
04II. Andantino–Allegro minore
II. Andantino–Allegro minore

Sonata No. 3 in G Minor

05I. Allegro
I. Allegro
06II. Rondo gracioso
II. Rondo gracioso

Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges (1745-1799), was a 19th century polymath, reflected both in his extensive contributions to the musical community of the era but extending as well to his non-musical pursuits. A prominent violinist, composer, and conductor, Bologne was the director of the well known Le Concert Olympique, the orchestra that commissioned and premiered Haydn’s “Paris” Symphonies. He was a celebrated swordsman and decorated in the military during the French Revolution, leading an all-Black regiment for the revolutionary cause.

On this collection, violinist Andrew McIntosh and fortepianist Steven Vanhauwaert perform Bologne’s Op. 1b Violin Sonatas, written in 1781 at the height of his career. Each is in a two movement form with an opening Allegro and second movements that vary from a Minuet to a Rondo to a multi-tempo movement. McIntosh and Vanhauwaert bring an informed approach to these scores whose early published editions often leave a fair amount of information open with respect to dynamics and articulations. As such, the two apply a performance practice of ornamentation that is consistent with the style of the era. Throughout, they play with elegant lightness and sensitivity, highlighting the dramatic moments with power tempered by requisite restraint.

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Sonata No. 1 in Bb Major opens with a graceful melody in duple meter that unfolds with characteristic soloist and accompanist roles for the violin and keyboard. A surprising series of accents in minor seconds in the piano accompany a chopping descending figure in the violin and lend the movement some tart humor. The “Tempo di Menuetto” is in a lilting tempo, and fortepiano solos introduce the primary thematic material before the violin echoes it.

Sonata No. 2 in A Major begins with an “Allegro moderato” in a flowing tempo that allows for fleet figuration traded between the instruments at faster divisions of the pulse. Minor second double stops appear again in the piano accompaniment as an intensification. The harmonic road map of the development ventures further afield than in the first movement of Sonata No. 1. The “Andantino-Allegro minore” starts with a simple, innocent melody, eventually transitioning to the more rhapsodic minor theme as a contrasting B section to the movement.

Sonata No. 3 is the only of the set that is in a minor key, though after a brief statement of the opening declamatory statement in G minor, the piece quickly moves to the relative major, where it spends the majority of the exposition section. Bologne uses sequences to cycle through several key areas during developmental sections of the movement. The “Rondo gracioso” is in major from the outset however, in a light, dancing triple meter, with a characteristic appoggiatura figure on the tritone of the key up to the fifth scale degree in the second half of the theme, in which we hear Vanhauwaert slyly play minor second double stops in the accompaniment in the final statement of the Rondo. McIntosh and Vanhauwaert have made an important contribution to the discography of Bologne’s violin works, charming pieces which will surely find themselves into recital programs in coming years.

– Dan Lippel

Recorded and edited by Steven Vanhauwaert

Mixing by Andrew McIntosh
Mastering and additional mixing by Ryan Streber at Oktaven Audio

Recorded at the Contrapuntal Recital Hall in Brentwood, CA on September 19, 2020 and May 8-9, 2021

Cover design by Amy I Productions

Andrew McIntosh

Andrew McIntosh is a Grammy-nominated violinist, violist, composer, and baroque violinist who teaches at the California Institute of the Arts, with a wide swath of musical interests ranging from historical performance practice to improvisation, microtonal tuning systems, and the 20th-century avant-garde. As a baroque performer McIntosh is a member of Tesserae, Bach Collegium San Diego, and Musica Angelica, has served as guest concertmaster with LA Opera, Long Beach Opera, and Opera UCLA, and has performed with the Washington National Cathedral Baroque Orchestra, Musica Pacifica, and the American Bach Soloists. He is also a frequent recitalist, performing with historical keyboardist Ian Pritchard and fortepianist Steven Vanhauwaert, and also appeared at the San Francisco Symphony's SoundBox series in 2016 performing solo Bach on baroque violin. As a solo artist he has also performed at Miller Theatre in New York, REDCAT, and festivals and concert series across Europe and the US. As a chamber musician he is a member of the Formalist Quartet, WildUp, and Wadada Leo Smith's Red Koral Quartet. As a composer he often works with forms and ideas found in nature or in other artistic disciplines, and was described by Alex Ross in The New Yorker as "a composer preternaturally attuned to the landscapes and soundscapes of the West".

Steven Vanhauwaert

Hailed by the Los Angeles Times for his "impressive clarity, sense of structure and monster technique", Steven Vanhauwaert has garnered a wide array of accolades, amongst which is the First Prize at the Los Angeles International Liszt Competition. Vanhauwaert has appeared as a soloist at the National Center of the Performing Arts in Beijing, Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Shanghai Oriental Arts Center, the Concertgebouw in Brugge, and the National Philharmonic Hall in Kiev. He has appeared with orchestras including the Pacific Symphony, the Lviv Philharmonic, the Guayaquil Symphony Orchestra, the Reno Chamber Orchestra, the International Chamber Orchestra of Puerto Rico, the Flemish Symphony, and the Kyiv Kamerata.

He has recorded on the Hortus, Sonarti, ECM, and Bridge labels; and several of his albums have received 5 diapasons in France. He serves as Assistant Professor on the faculty at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. Steven Vanhauwaert is a Steinway Artist.