We are delighted to be here to welcome you in honoring Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) for his unextinguishable spirit of life-affirming faith and energy which continue to uplift us all to this day.
Out of the 10 sonatas for piano and violin that he wrote, we chose three distinctive ones even though they were written within a year of each other. For Beethoven, 1802-1803 was an extremely productive time that included composing several piano sonatas, as well as the symphonies No. 2 and 3.
Sonata No. 7 in C minor, Op. 30, No. 2
In the key of C minor, Beethoven shows his personality at its strongest: intense, angry, stormy, and tumultuous within a highly concise and disciplined structure. And his other significant works in this key (the “Pathétique” and Op. 111 piano sonatas, as well as the Symphony No. 5) share these same features.
Sonata No. 8 in G major, Op. 30, No. 3
This work must be counted as one of Beethoven’s wittiest creations with scraps of broken chords and scale passages like in a slapstick, with abrupt dynamic changes and unexpected accents. And the earthy country music in the last movement with clever fits and starts – and sudden halts with his deceptive cadences which take the listener to a totally unexpected world, even if only for a moment.
Sonata No. 9 in A major, Op. 47 “Kreutzer”
With this work, Beethoven is heading into a Romantic concept based on concerto-like exuberance. The theme and variations movement also demonstrates intricacy and complexity of technical aspects of both instrumental expression and ensemble.
Leo Tolstoy, in his 1889 novel with the same title, used the “Kreutzer” Sonata to vividly describe the impact of such drama on listeners.
“Music carries me immediately and directly into the mental condition of the man who composed it. My soul merges with his and together with him. I pass from one condition into another.”