Romance No. 2 in F major, op. 50
September 24, 2017: Sean Lee, violin; Michael Brown, piano
Beethoven may have written his two Romances for violin and orchestra as potential slow movements for an unfinished concerto (WoO 5), but in the end he published them as separate pieces. The F major Romance may date from as early as 1798. In German, Romanze designates a songlike instrumental piece (specifically in alla breve meter or “cut time”), of which the French Romance is a special subcategory used for violin concerto slow movements by composers such as Viotti. Beethoven’s sweetly “singing” Romances clearly show his familiarity with this French style. The F major Romance is especially famous for its high range and sweet melodic line, which may partly account for its being played more often than its companion in G. Beethoven interjects contrasting orchestral sections at the ends of thematic statements, characterizing them with majestic long-short rhythms. He creates a wonderful touch at the end when his accompaniment provides a double echo of the solo violin’s last three notes.
© Jane Vial Jaffe