The leaders of two international Quartets, the Villiers and Euclid Quartets announce a CD of Spohr duos and a new project, never completed before, to record all the violin duets, some six hours of music, by Spohr on a major label.
One of the giants of music-making in the nineteenth century, Louis Spohr excelled as a composer, violin virtuoso, conductor and teacher. His concertos for the violin (Nos. 6, 8 and 11 can be heard on Naxos 8.570528) demonstrate a romantic temperament framed in a Classical style, but he was equally adept in smaller forms.
This first CD contains one of Spohr’s most famous duos, Opus 67 No. 2, as well as the other duos from Opus 67, and a previously unrecorded early work from WoO 21. The Duets for Two Violins, Op. 67 reveal a perfect sense of architecture, the two instruments frequently exchanging roles, as well as a majestic command of melody.
Spohr’s Opus 67 duos are amongst some of his most virtuosic and his renewed interest in this medium was sparked by his students of the time, one of whom was Ferdinand David who famously went onto premier the Mendelssohn violin concerto. Dubbed the German Paganini, Spohr pushed the boundaries of the violin and violin technique to create music that seems beyond its resources in sound, texture and colour.
Composer & Repertoire Information
Louis Spohr was born on 5th April 1784 in Braunscheig, Lower Saxony, and spent his early years in the small town of Seesen in the Herz Mountains. It was here that he received his early tuition and where he composed his first pieces. At the age of fifteen he secured a position in the court orchestra of Duke Karl William Ferdinand. He rapidly became one of the leading violinists of his time taking up positions and giving concerts in Austria, Italy and Britain as well as Germany.
Spohr’s Violin Duos WoO 21 (written when he was 12 years of age) are his earliest surviving compositions and are mentioned in his autobiography. Over subsequent years Spohr composed more Violin Duets – Op. 3 (1805), Op. 9 (1807), Op. 39 (1816), Op. 67 (1824), Op. 148 (1856), Op. 150 (1856), Op. 153 (1857 or 1858) and a further two which were not given formal opus numbers WoO 22 and WoO 30. Two CDs featuring the Opus 3 and 39 duos are set for release in 2019.
For forty years Spohr was central to music of Germany and England, and although history has rather forgotten his input, it was unparalleled. The inventor of the chin rest and the first composer to use letters to signal starting points in music manuscripts, Spohr was the object of extravagant adulation as both a violinist and composer. As P. H. Lang noted in 1953 “If we persist in consigning the dim figures behind Beethoven to complete oblivion we shall never understand why Brahms developed as he did, while Berlioz, Chopin and Liszt went their own way. Spohr is undoubtedly one of the most significant of those figures.”
The multi-faceted performer and teacher, Jameson Cooper, was Born in Sheffield, England. He studied at the Royal Northern College of Music, at the Aspen Music Festival with Dorothy DeLay and Masao Kawasaki, and later with Roland and Almita Vamos. He holds master’s degrees in violin performance and in orchestral conducting from Kent State University. As a founding member of the Euclid Quartet, Cooper has won numerous competition prizes and performed to high acclaim throughout the US, in ensembles and as soloist. He is the dedicatee of several new works and has performed many premieres. Cooper has given masterclasses at universities and colleges throughout the US and regularly serves as an adjudicator and coach. As a senior lecturer at Indiana University South Bend, Cooper teaches violin, chamber music, conducting and is musical director of the IUSB Philharmonic. An active recording artist, Cooper has albums covering a wide range of repertoire to critical acclaim.
He plays a violin made by Gregg Alf.
James Dickenson studied both in the UK and the US and lists Lydia Mordkovitch, Danny Phillips, Jerry Horner, Wen Zhou Li, and Christopher Rowland as some of his many teachers and mentors. After graduating from the Royal Northern College of Music, Dickenson left the UK to lead the Degas Quartet in the US. With this quartet, Dickenson gave concerts all over the US, in Carnegie Hall and at the Aspen Music Festival, and held various residencies in over ten universities. Since 2010 he has played with the Villiers Quartet, Resident Quartet at Oxford University. A keen Dounis advocate, Dickenson is a regular contributor to articles published by the European String Teachers Association.
He plays a violin made by Sergio Perreson in 1976.
Marketing, Promotion and Further information
This new CD will be fully serviced to UK press and media. Advertising will include appropriate classical magazines both in print and online.
Interview requests can be accommodated quickly, either in person or by telephone. Please request an advance review copy of the CD from your local NAXOS distributor – or if this is not feasible from: