The elements of a Violin and Piano Recital change, but one thing always remains: Our expectation of instrumental virtuosity and a program that offers us masterpieces from a vast repertory.

Russell Iceberg, Violin and Stephen Joven-Lee will be meeting all the challenges when they perform for L’ARCHET and Arts at St. John’s. The four works on the program are each acknowledged as varied masterpieces and comprise the kind of recital that was, up until about 50 years ago, a model for violinists.

The Baroque violinist-composer Jean-Marie LeClair isn’t widely performed today except for his exquisite D Major Sonata that was favored by violinists like David Oistrakh and Henryk Szeryng. Brahms, of course, wrote three works in the genre, of which the A Major Sonata is arguably the most radiantly beautiful. A great old “warhorse” of the program is the Saint-Saens D Minor Sonata—a well-written work which ends up in a virtuoso explosion that always brings down the house.

Finally, and above all perhaps, the first half of the program ends with Debussy’s Violin Sonata from 1917. This brief, frequently ironic, meditative and ultimately joyous work was written for the legendary Belgian violinist Eugene Ysaye. It is Debussy’s last major work. It is a major test of the performer’s communicative skills and the audience’s willingness to encounter ambiguous emotional states.

Russell Iceberg and Stephen Joven-Lee perform these works on Sunday, March 26, 2023 at 3:00 PM in beautiful St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, 37 South Fifth Street, Allentown PA.