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Beethoven: Spring Sonata

Coco Tomita and her father Kan Tomita




The sonata dates from 1801, the early Vienna period.

Beethoven (1770-1827) arrived in Vienna in 1792 to study with Joseph Haydn and, it was thought, to inherit the mantle of the recently deceased Mozart. He established himself as performer and improviser in the salons of the Viennese nobility – he had to teach piano to their children – and participated in notorious piano ‘duels’.

Beethoven’s compositional life was embryonic and it was only in 1795 that he took the brave step of publishing three piano trios to which he assigned an opus number: Op 1. By 1799 he had composed his eighth piano sonata (Pathétique Op. 13).

Around the time of the Spring Sonata, Beethoven published his Op 18 string quartets, commissioned by, and dedicated to, Prince Lobkowitz.

His deafness was causing him difficulties in both professional and social settings and the following year, on doctor’s advice, he moved to the small town of Heiligenstadt, just outside Vienna, to come to terms with his condition.

Beethoven at around the time he composed the Spring Sonata

Coco Tomita was born in Japan in 2002 and began studying the violin aged four. Two years later she became a pupil of Natasha Boyarsky and at 10 was awarded a place at the Yehudi Menuhin School. She has performed as a soloist with the Southbank Sinfonia and at masterclasses with Shmuel Ashkenasi, Zakhar Bron, Ida Haendel, and Lewis Kaplan.

Coco won the Strings prize of 2020 BBC Young Musician of the Year.