MENU
News:

On Summer Break See You August 13. Click Here to Donate to Live Classical Music

The Kouzov Duo
March 28, 2023
The Kouzov Duo

Dmitry Kouzov, Cello and Yulia Fedoseeva, Piano

Ludwig van Beethoven: Sonata for Piano and Cello No. 4 in C Major, Op. 102, no. 1

Johann Sebastian Bach: Suite for Solo Cello No. 2 in D minor, BWV 1008

Pyotr Illich Tchaikovsky: Pezzo capriccioso for Cello and Piano, Op. 62

Program Notes

BEETHOVEN:                     

The piano-cello sonata simply did not exist before Beethoven. Neither Haydn nor Mozart, the core “classical” composers or Beethoven’s immediate predecessors, wrote any such works. True, the cello had been emancipated from a strict accompaniment role in the later quartets of Haydn, but it still occupied the place of a lesser among equals. Thus, Beethoven may be rightly credited with creating the “modern”  cello sonata, and elevating the status of the cello in the process – a status that the instrument has enjoyed to this day.

Beethoven’s last two sonatas, Op. 102, are from the threshold of his late period, and foreshadow many of the changes that that period brought, including the compression of emotion and introspection of the late quartets. Short and almost enigmatic, Sonata No. 4 summarizes in the concentrated form how Beethoven was preparing to subvert the sonata structures he inherited from Haydn and Mozart. Its overall structure is possibly unique in Beethoven’s works, comprising just a pair of fast sonata-form movements. Both movements recall the long-established convention of a slow introduction followed by a brisk main section, but with significant modifications.

BACH:

The six Cello Suites by Johann Sebastian Bach are some of the most frequently performed solo compositions ever written for cello and are considered some of Bach’s greatest musical achievements.

As is usual in Baroque suites, all the movements that follow the prelude are based on Baroque dances. The suites are in six movements each: Prelude; Allemande; Courante; Sarabande; a pair of Minuets, Bourrées, or Gavottes; and a final Gigue.

Due to the technical demands and difficulty in interpreting the works (the latter because of the non-annotated nature of the surviving copies), the cello suites were little known and rarely publicly performed until they were recorded by Pablo Casals in the early 20th century. They have since been performed and recorded by many renowned cellists and have been transcribed for numerous other instruments.

Gary S. Dalkin of MusicWeb International called Bach’s cello suites “among the most profound of all classical music works,” and Wilfrid Mellers described them as “music wherein a man has created a dance of God.” Yo-Yo Ma wrote, “Bach’s Cello Suites have been my constant musical companions. For almost six decades, they have given me sustenance, comfort, and joy during times of stress, celebration, and loss. What power does this music possess that even today, after three hundred years, it continues to help us navigate through troubled times? Music, like all cultural expression, helps us to understand our environment, each other, and ourselves. Culture helps us to imagine a better future. Culture helps turn ‘them’ into ‘us.’ And these things have never been more important.”

Tchaikovsky:

Pezzo capriccioso is a work for cello and orchestra composed by Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky in one single week, during the summer of 1887. The composer said it was “the single fruit of my musical spirit from the whole summer.”

The work was quickly arranged for cello and piano, and it is in this version that the score was premiered, in February 1888 in Paris, with Anatoliy Brandukov playing the cello and the composer playing the piano. The original orchestral version was premiered in November 1889 during a concert gathering once again Brandukov and Tchaikovsky, who this time conducted the orchestra.

Biographical Notes:

Dmitry Kouzov

Praised as “a true artist” by Maestro Mstislav Rostropovich, the young cellist Dmitry Kouzov won the First Prize at the International Beethoven Competition and the New York Cello Society “Rising Star” Award, and is a two-time laureate of Russia’s International “Virtuosi of the Year” Festival-Competition.

Mr. Kouzov has performed worldwide with orchestras, in recitals, and in chamber music performances. He made his New York orchestral début at Alice Tully Hall in 2005 under the baton of Maestro Raymond Leppard and has performed as a soloist with such orchestras as the St. Petersburg Symphony Orchestra (Russia), the State Academic Symphony Orchestra of the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, the National Symphony of Ukraine, the South Bohemian Chamber Philharmonic (Czech Republic), and the Cape Town and Johannesburg Philharmonic orchestras (South Africa), to name a few.

Mr. Kouzov has performed at such prestigious venues as Lincoln Center, the 92nd Street Y, (New York City), Sala São Paulo (Brazil), and at the most important venues in his native Russia, including both St. Petersburg Philharmonic Halls, the halls of the Moscow and St. Petersburg Conservatories, and the Mariinsky Theater. He has appeared as a guest artist at many international festivals such as Caramoor and Kneisel Hall (USA), the Verbier and International Bach Festivals (Switzerland), the Schleswig-Holstein (Germany), “Janacek May” (Czech Republic), “Kyiv Summer Music Nights” (Ukraine), and “Art-November” (Russia) Festivals. He has given command performances before Mikhail Gorbachev and Prince Andrew, Duke of York.

Mr. Kouzov’s chamber music collaborators include Joshua Bell, Yuri Bashmet, Krzysztof Penderecki, Ilya Gringolts, Shmuel Ashkenasi, pianist Peter Laul, and major string quartets. Special programs include the complete Brahms and Beethoven sonata cycles and the Bach suites for unaccompanied cello. He is also the cellist of the Manhattan Piano Trio.

Mr. Kouzov’s discography includes both Shostakovich concertos with the St. Petersburg State Symphony and the cello concerto by Sean Hickey on the Delos label (2013); concertos by George Walker with the Sinfonia Varsovia on the Albany label; the complete C.P.E. Bach gamba sonatas on Naxos; “Two Hundred Years of Cello Masterpieces” on Marquis; and the complete Schumann piano trios on Onyx Classics. His latest CDs, on Delos, include a disc of sonatas by Debussy, Franck, Ravel, and Chopin, and a duo recording with violinist Ilya Gringolts.

In addition to his performing activities, Mr. Kouzov is on the faculty of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, and previously taught at Juilliard and the University of Illinois School of Music.

Further information is available at www.dmitrykouzov.com.

Yulia Fedoseeva

Known for her passionate musical interpretations and impressive technical facility, the St. Petersburg-born pianist Yulia Kouzova enjoys a varied international career as a soloist, chamber musician, and teacher. Yulia has performed recitals and concerti in the major cities in Russia and regularly performs in Russia’s most prestigious venues such as St. Petersburg Philharmonic Hall and State Capella. In addition to that, she has also performed throughout Europe in Holland, Portugal, France, Germany, Sweden, and the UK. Throughout her career, Yulia has received many awards, including a special prize at the Jurmala International Piano Competition, in Latvia and the Grand Prix, and the First Prize at the International “Coast of Hope” Competition in Bulgaria. Yulia’s piano duo with Tatiana Brizhaneva gave numerous successful and critically acclaimed performances in St. Petersburg, Dusseldorf, and Munich, gave the Russian premiere of Germaine Tailleferre’s Jeux de plein air in 2008, and won 1st prize at the Maria Yudina Piano Duo Competition in St. Petersburg and 2nd prize at the Bahchiev National Piano Duo Competition in Vologda, Russia.

Yulia combines her performing schedule with a passion for and commitment to teaching. She was on the faculty of the Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory’s Special School for Gifted Children and at the Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory in St. Petersburg. In 2009, she was seen and heard in Phil Grabsky’s documentary, “In Search of Beethoven,” which received its theatrical premiere at London’s Barbican Theatre, its broadcast premiere on Sky Arts (UK), and has since been shown in cinema and on television networks around the world.  She has been an official collaborative pianist at the International Tchaikovsky Competition and currently teaches at Oberlin College.