Impromptu sur un thème de Beethoven – Saint-Lubin, Léon de

Posted on April 6th, 2019 by


Napoléon Antoine Eugène Léon de Saint-Lubin (1805 Turin – 1850 Berlin ) Impromptu sur un thème de Beethoven 

Based on the second movement of the Symphony No.7, Op.92, by Ludwig van Beethoven

Peter Sheppard Skærved – Violin (At the Desk Recording 6 4 19 Wapping)

The delightful MS, dated 20th February 1834 – Impromptu sur un thème de Beethoven (Saint-Lubin, Léon de)

A word of explanation. After a concert a few nights ago, an audience member handed me a bag, saying: ‘Here’s a picture you might like.’ When I got home, I discovered that he had given me a wonderful framed photo of Jan Kubelík (5 July 1880 – 5 December 1940), who is one of my heroes – a violinist of the most musical, lyrical virtuosity. The violinist had signed it in 1921, though the photo appears to be pre-WW1.

The signed portrait of Jan Kubelík (5 July 1880 – 5 December 1940)

It’s always difficult to know what do with myself the day after a highly concentrated performance. The photo provided an answer. I went back and listened to Kubelik’s playing again. It’s extraordinary, and a reminder that everything we do on the instrument should be natural, vocal, and honest. The performance which struck me the most was his reading of Léon de-Saint-Lubin’s Fantasy on the Sextet from Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor.  So I spent the night studying that, if you like, taking a violin lesson from both players.

This morning I remembered that Saint-Lubin had been a friend of Beethoven, and then I stumble across this lovely MS – an ‘Impromptu’ which uses the chord sequence from the slow movement of Beethoven’s 7th Symphony Op92.  It’s lovely, so I recorded it at the desk.

It seems that studying and performing the work of Saint-Lubin is going to be a project which starts here, inspired by a kind gift after a performance. Watch this space!