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Sonata for violin and piano no.1 | Piano Quintet

27 April 2024 | 20:00 - 21:00

Frank Martin and his wife Maria, surrounded by their children and grandchildren. Naarden, 15 September 1965

L’ODYSSÉE FRANK MARTIN – Carte blanche à la famille Martin

Frank Martin Sonata for violin and piano no.1
Johann Sebastian Bach Harpsichord Concerto no.1 in D minor, BWV 1052
Frank Martin Piano Quintet

Three generations of the Martin family gather for this musical reunion featuring Frank Martin’s Piano Quintet and Violin Sonata no.1. Frank Martin is also reunited with the composer who ignited his musical instincts with a performance of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Harpsichord Concerto in D-minor.
It was on Good Friday of 1903 that twelve-year-old Frank Martin first heard Johann Sebastian Bach’s St. Matthew Passion. Decades later, he recalled how moved he felt in that moment: “It was the defining musical experience of my life. From beginning to end, it was as though I had lost consciousness and been transported to the heavens. When I came back, I had no idea where I was. […] From time to time, I have caught glimmers of that feeling, but I have never had an experience quite like it again.”
While this may have been a once-in-a-lifetime event, Frank Martin’s profound connection with music has been passed down through the generations. Today, his grandson Denis and great-granddaughter Paloma present to us a family reunion in the form of a concert featuring two of Frank Martin’s compositions. Bach’s profound influence on the composer comes across in his Piano Quintet (1919) for two violins, viola, cello and piano. Although it is written in the Late-Romantic style, Frank Martin couldn’t resist alluding to the transcendent experience of his childhood, reiterating the arioso ‘Ach Golgatha, unsel’ges Golgatha’ from St Matthew Passion in the strings at the beginning of the third movement. Frank Martin’s discovery of another great composer can also be seen in his Violin Sonata no.1 (1913), which contains echoes of the Choral from César Franck’s Prélude, Choral et Fugue.
Ultimately, this concert not only brings together three generations of the Martin family, but also reunites Frank Martin with Bach, as Denis Martin explains: “When Thierry Fischer approached my family and invited us to participate in this Odyssey, we decided to form an ensemble with Paloma’s musician friends from Milan. When we were putting together the programme, it seemed natural to insert Bach between two of my grandfather’s compositions. Fiorenzo will be interpreting Bach’s Harpsichord Concerto in D-minor on the piano. For us, it is a way of reuniting Frank Martin with the aesthetic sensations that brought about his musical awakening.”

photo: Frank Martin and his wife Maria, surrounded by their children and grandchildren. Naarden (NL), 15 September 1965


27 April 2024
20:00 - 21:00


Geneva (CH) | Théâtre Les Salons
Rue J.-F. Bartholoni 6
Geneva, 1204 Switzerland
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Fiorenzo Pascalucci piano
Paloma Martin violin Da Won Ghang violin
Denis Martin viola Marco Mauro Moruzzi cello