Tag Archives: Beethoven

Marc-André Hamelin

Once again we have the great pleasure of presenting Marc-André Hamelin on our stage!  He will join us on Thursday, March 23rd for an evening of sonatas including the great Beethoven “Appassionata” and Chopin’s Sonata No 2 in B-flat minor, Op 35.

The entire evening looks like this:

Haydn – Sonata in C major, Hob. XVI: 48
Samuel Feinberg – Sonata No 2 in A minor, Op 2
Samuel Feinberg – Sonata No 1 in A major, Op 1
Beethoven – Sonata in F minor, Op 57, “Appassionata”
—————–
Scriabin – Sonata No 7, Op 64, “White Mass”
Chopin – Sonata No 2 in B-flat minor, Op 35

With a busy performance schedule and over 70 recordings already released, somehow Hamelin still finds time to record even more with Hyperion!  In June 2015, he was inducted into the Gramophone Hall of Fame, recognizing this amazing work.  Since he was last on our stage in 2015, Hyperion released a recording of the Franck Piano Quintet in F Minor with Hamelin and the Takacs Quartet (May 2016).  And you can pre-order Hamelin’s next album on iTunes which will include Medtner’s Piano Concerto 2  and Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto 3  https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/medtner-rachmaninoff-piano/id1184264860?app=iTunes

To learn more about Marc-André Hamelin, visit his website at http://www.marcandrehamelin.com/index.php, or search our blog site for previous posts!

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Philharmonia Quartett Berlin

March 16, 2017 will be the 8th concert that the Philharmonia Quartett Berlin has played for us over the years.  Daniel Stabrawa (violin), Christian Stadelmann (violin), and Neithard Resa (viola) are all original members of the 32 year old quartet.  Dietmar Schwalke (cello) joined them in 2009 after the sudden passing of Jan Diesselhorst.

All four members of the quartet are part of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra.  Daniel is the 1st Concertmaster and occasionally conducts the orchestra.  Christian is the Leader of the 2nd Violins.  Of the four, Neithard is the longest-serving member of the orchestra, originally becoming a member in 1978.  He served as Principal Violist until 2010.  Joining the orchestra in 1994, Dietmar is the ‘newest’ of the four.  In addition to the Quartet, he is involved in a number of chamber groups associated with the orchestra such as the 12 Cellist of the Berlin Philharmonic and the Berlin Philharmonic Capriccio.

Somehow with all of the demands on their schedules for performances and teaching, they have still managed to release a number of recordings over the years.  Their most recent ones are from 2014 (Beethoven) and 2015 (Brahms).

Join us on March 16th to hear Haydn’s Quartet in G major, Op. 64, No. 4, Beethoven’s Quartet in B-flat Major, Op. 18, No. 6 and Schumann’s Quartet in A Minor, Op. 41, No. 1.   http://www.music-toronto.com/quartets/berlin.htm

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Hayden, Bartok and Beethoven

By guest writer Julie Berridge

On November 10, we will be enriched by the music of Hayden, Bartok and Beethoven, played by The Quatuor Arthur-LeBlanc.  Read more about the concert here – http://music-toronto.com/quartets/arthur_Leblanc.htm

Hayden

The evening opens with Haydn’s Quartet in G Major, Op. 77, No.1.  Commissioned by Prince Joseph Lobkowitz and composed in 1799, it is one of Haydn’s most modern quartets.  It’s a relaxed and light-hearted work. Sometimes unadorned. Sometimes embellished.  And from start to finish, catchy and playful.

 

Bartok

Like Many of Bartok’s pieces, Quartet No. 4 has an archlike structure.  The first and fifth movements share related themes, as do the second and fourth.  The third movement stands alone.  Movements I, III and V are approximately six minutes long, and movements II and IV are about 3 minutes long.  The first movement transitions from clusters of notes to full cords.  The second movement is quick.  Full of trills, fast scales, and vibrato.  In the third movement, we hear elements of the folk and night music that Bartok is so well-known for.  Bartok’s pizzicato, the slapping sounds of the strings against the fingerboard, resulting from the aggressive plucking of the strings can be heard in the fourth movement.  The final movement features a recast of many of the themes in the first movement.

 

Beethoven

Beethoven’s Quartet in C Major, Op. 59, No. 3, “Rasumovsky”, opens in the first movement with an aura of mystery but soon transitions into what has been described as “party music accompanied by fireworks”.  A playground frolic with notes tossing back and forth.  The second movement is composed in the style of a Venetian boat song.  The third is delicate and beautifully intertwined, leading us to the final movement, a fast and vigorous fugue.

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Quatuor Arthur-LeBlanc

Since the fall of 2005, Quatuor Arthur-LeBlanc has been the quartet-in-residence at the Université Laval in Quebec City.  The four members of the quartet – Hibiki Kobayashi (violin), Brett Molzan (violin), Jean-Luc Plourde (viola) and Ryan Molzan (cello) – all teach the art of string quartets and chamber music at the university as well.

The quartet is named after Arthur LeBlanc who was born near Moncton in 1906 and died in Quebec City in 1985.  He was a violinist and composer who spent most of his youth in Moncton and then studied and lived in Quebec.  He attended the School of Music at Université Laval in 1922, one of the first to enrol in the school.  Later in life he would also teach at Université Laval.

He had a very busy career performing concerts and teaching.  He performed overseas, in the US, and in Canada – at one point performing 26 concerts in 6 weeks.  Health reasons dictated less touring after 1953 but he continued to perform for programs on radio and television.  Some of those programs included pieces he had composed as well.

You can hear this quartet named in his honour perform live on November 10th as part of our String Series!  The evening will include pieces by Haydn, Bartok, and Beethoven.  http://music-toronto.com/quartets/arthur_Leblanc.htm

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Beethoven and Bartok

by guest blogger Julie Berridge

On Thursday, October 13 2016, The Juilliard Quartet performs Beethoven and Bartok.

The evening opens with Beethoven’s String Quartet in F minor, Op.95, written in 1810.

The quartet was written soon after Napoleon invaded Vienna for the second time in 1809, occupying and bombarding the city for one night. Beethoven reportedly hid in the cellar, and covered his head with pillows, during that night.

The first 8 bars of Opus 95 include tempestuous and dotted rhythms, and a chorale.  In the first movement, instruments are assigned highly changeable roles.  The second movement provides a hymn like lyrical pause between movements, and the third and fourth movements are a return to the hectic tumultuous mood of the first.

Bartok – Quartet No. 1

This quartet which actually consists of three movements has been described as one of Bartok’s “tamest” string quartets.  He composed the piece for Stefi Geyer, a violinist with whom he fell in love.  Around the same time, Bartok had rejected the Catholicism he was brought up in, and declared himself an atheist.  The opening movement is slow and somewhat subdued at the start, and then it rises to a grand climax and then ends quietly.  The second movement is energetic, though at times ethereal.  It, also ends quietly.  Not so the third movement which is fiery, even to its ending.

 

Ludwig van Beethoven

String Quartet No. 7 in F major (“Rasumovsky No. 1”), Op. 59/1

Beethoven wrote these quartets in 1806 for Count Rasumovsky.  Initially, they were not well received.

The quartet begins in an amiable manner but soon fragments into sudden shifts of mood and colour. When first written, they were described by violinist Felix Radicati as “not music”.  The cellist Bernhard Romberg is said to have thrown the music on the ground and stomped on it.

In February 27, 1807, a piece in the Allgemeine Musikalische Zeitung was a bit kinder.  It read,

“Three new, very long and difficult Beethoven string quartets … are attracting the attention of all connoisseurs. The conception is profound and the construction excellent, but they are not easily comprehended.”

Of the quartets, Beethoven presciently said to his critics, “They are not for you, but for a later age”.  For us, they may be perfect.

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Juilliard Quartet

On October 13, 2017, we will open our 45th season!  The Juilliard Quartet will start off our season, joining us once again.  With a 70 year history of excellence, they have delighted our audiences several times over the years.  This time they return with new cellist, Astrid Schween.  Previously, she was a member of the Lark Quartet and had an active career as a chamber player, soloist, and teacher.

In addition to performing, all of the members of the quartet are dedicated teachers.  The JSQ is the String Quartet in Residence at the Juilliard School and all of the quartet members are faculty members devoting time to teaching string and chamber music.  Each May, the school hosts the Juilliard String Quartet Seminar where quartets receive intensive coaching from the JSQ.  To find out more about the application process, check out this link – http://www.juilliard.edu/youth-adult-programs/summer-programs/juilliard-string-quartet-seminar   It looks like applications are not yet open for the 2017 session but bookmark it and check back soon if you are interested.

Giving the average person an in-depth experience of quartet playing, in 2015, the quartet released the app “Juilliard String Quartet – An Exploration of Schubert’s Death and the Maiden”.  https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/juilliard-string-quartet-exploration/id958257688?mt=8

You can find out more about the Juilliard by reading our previous blog entry from when they were on our stage in December of 2014 – https://mtochambermusic.wordpress.com/2014/12/18/the-juilliard-quartet/ – or by going to their website – http://www.juilliardquartet.org/

Join us on October 13, 2016 to hear them live in Toronto with an evening of Beethoven and Bartok – http://music-toronto.com/

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Artemis Quartett

On April 14, 2016 we will close our 44th season with the Toronto debut performance of the renowned Artemis Quartett. We have tried to bring them in the past but scheduling conflicts have meant we were unable to have them as part of our series until now.

Currently comprised of Vineta Sareika (violin), Anthea Kreston (violin), Gregor Sigl (viola), and Eckart Runge (cello), the quartet was originally formed in 1989 by four students at the Musikhochschule in Lübeck and has seen a few changes in personnel over the years. Eckart Runge is the remaining founding member.

All four of the performers teach at University of the Arts Berlin and Chapelle Musicale Reine Elisabeth in Brussels. As with many prominent string quartets, they maintain a busy schedule of performances in addition to teaching. And somehow managed to squeeze in time to record and release 18 CDs in the past 10 years with Virgin Classics/EMI.

To read more about the quartet or to listen to some excerpts, visit their website at http://artemisquartett.de/

To hear them live, join us on April 14th for some Wolf, Shostakovich, and Beethoven with the Artemis Quartett! http://music-toronto.com/

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Dénes Várjon

by guest contributor Julie Berridge

Dénes Várjon opens with Beethoven’s Sonata in G Major, Op. 14, No. 2 composed in 1798 and 1799. It’s a lyrical, lively and often humorous Sonata.

Schumann’s Fantasiestucke, Op. 12 is a set of eight pieces, the title of which was inspired by E.T.A. Hoffmann’s Fantasiestücke in Callots Manie. The composition was also inspired by fictional lives that Schumann created based on the real lives of his friends and enemies. For years Schumman developed these fictional characters in his diaries and letters to friends. He then began using these characters in his work as a music critic. In 1837, these characters became the inspiration for Fantasiestucke, Op. 12.

The composition is both passionate and dreamy. It begins with “Des Abends” (In the Evening). It is a “gentle picture of dusk” followed by followed by a parley between passion and dreams. It ends with what Schumann described as the combining of wedding and funeral bells. In a letter to his wife Clara he wrote, “At the time, I thought: well in the end it all resolves itself into a jolly wedding. But at the close, my painful anxiety about you returned”.

Ravel’s Gaspard de la Nuit is Surreal and hallucinatory. It is based on a poem by Aloysius Bertrand which features a mermaid a monster and a corpse.
Gaspard de la Nuit is comprised of 3 movements. The first movement Odine, is the tale of a mermaid who is trying to seduce a man by singing to him about her magical and fantastic would. The man tells Odin that he is married and he rejects her. Odin’s reaction is at first stormy, followed by quiet acceptance and then laughter. All of this is delightfully conveyed by Ravel.

In the second movement Le Gibet, Ravel paints a musical picture of a solitary corpse. The sounding of a B flat throughout the movement sustains the lonely and desolate musical landscape of this piece.

The third movement Scarbo conveys grandeur as much as it conveys horror. In the poem, Scarbo is an evil dwarf who makes frenzied appearances at night, sometimes hiding – waiting to pounce and scare. Ravel captures all of this.

Bartok’s Out of Doors is a set of five pieces, each of which are a depiction of Hungarian peasant life. In these five pieces we hear rocking melodies, drumbeats, and the nocturnal sounds of crickets and frogs.

Bartok fell in love with folk songs when he heard a peasant girl singing a Transylvanian tune in 1904. After hearing the girl, he said to his sister, “I now have a plan. I will collect the most beautiful Hungarian folksongs and raise them to the level of art songs”.

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Marleyn Bertoli Duo

by guest contributor Julie Berridge

On February 12, the Marleyn Bertoli duo comprised of Pianist Mauro Bertoli and Cellist Paul Marleyn will perform the compositions of Beethoven, the Russian Composers Alexander Glazunov and Rachmaninov and Canadian composer Chan Ka Nin.

 

GLAZUNOV
The performance opens with A Le Chant du Ménéstrel, a tender lyrical piece by Alexander Glazunov who at the age of 11, produced his first composition. At the age of 14, he began studying with Rimsky-Korsakov, at the St. Petersburg Conservatory and by 16, he had completed his Symphony No. 1 which debuted in March 1882. At the age of 34, he became a professor at the St. Petersburg Conservatory.

Glazunov’s friend and mentor Rimsky-Korsakov was fired from the conservatory because of his liberal views after the revolution of February 1905, following which Glazunov resigned in support. However, after the October Manifesto of Nicholas II, new rights were granted to the conservatory and Glazunov was invited back.

In the years after the 1917 revolution professors appointed under the Bolshevik regime are said to have constantly disagreed with Glazunov, taking issue with his style of composition which they thought to be outdated.

Glazunov left the Soviet Union in 1928 for the Schubert centenary celebrations in Vienna and never returned. After touring Europe, he settled in Paris.

 

BEETHOVEN
Beethoven composed his Sonata for cello & piano in A Major, Op. 69 between 1806 and 1808. This sonata is a melodic, joyful and sensuous tale told by a cello and piano in three movements. Here, both the cello and piano play an equal role. The piece opens with the cello’s lyrical melody, answered by the piano and throughout the three movements, this musical conversation between the two is played out with spirit, joy, passion and sensuality.

Beethoven published his first composition at age 11. Born in Bonn, he moved to Vienna in 1792 when he was 22 years old and made his public debut there in 1795. Around this time he published, Opus 1, Opus 2, three piano trios and three piano sonatas.

In 1801 Beethoven composed the Moonlight Sonata. In 1802, he started to lose his hearing. When he began writing Op. 69 in 1806, he was almost completely deaf. Between the time that he started to lose his hearing, and the time he had little or no hearing left, Beethoven composed the opera Fidelio, five string quartets, seven piano sonatas, six string sonatas and 72 songs. His Ninth Symphony was composed in 1824.

 

CHAN KA NIN
Chan Ka Nin is a Canadian composer whose compositions have been described as sensuous,” “haunting,” and “intricate”, reflecting both an eastern and western aesthetic.

Born in Hong Kong, he moved with his family to Vancouver in 1965. He studied composition with Jean Coulthard while pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering at the University of British Columbia. After graduating from UBC, he studied composition with Bernhard Heiden at Indiana University and subsequently obtained his Master’s and Doctoral degrees in music. He has taught theory and composition at the University of Toronto since 1982.

Professor Chan has won numerous awards for his compositions including two JUNO awards, the Jean A. Chalmers Award, the Béla Bartók International Composers’ Competition in Hungary, and the Barlow International Competition in the United States. In 2001 he won the Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding Musical for his opera Iron Road, which he co-wrote with librettist Mark Brownell.

On Soulmate, the piece performed by Marleyn and Bertoli, the program notes from Professor Chan’s site say,

Soulmate is taken from the composer’s Ontario Arts Council commissioned work for the Guelph Spring Festival in 1995, Poetry On Ice, which is music written for figure skating. The piece describes two people who accept each other beyond love and affection. Their understanding is subtle, mutual, and wordless, like a pair of dancers on ice. The unending melody depicts their graceful florid movement as well as their voices from their heart.

 

RACHMANINOV
Sergei Rachmaninov was a composer, pianist, and conductor. Born in Russia in 1873, he died in Beverley Hills, California in 1943. His music is thought of by many as the last link between 19th century romanticism and 20th century modernism.

Rachmaninov was influenced and encouraged by Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov (Glazunov’s teacher) as well as by Russia’s folklore and the music of the Russian Orthodox Church. His music is noble and rigorous.

Rachmaninov graduated from the Moscow conservatory in 1891. At the age of 19, prior to graduating, he had completed one of his best known works, the “Prelude in C Sharp Minor.

Rachmaninov enjoyed not only artistic but financial success in the years before the 1917 revolution. After the 1917 revolution, he fled to America with his family, and began an extremely lucrative career as a concert pianist.

Rachmaninov completed Cello Sonata in G minor, Op. 19 in 1901. The work has four movements. Rachmaninov thought that the name of the piece did not do it justice since it was a work that gave equal voice to the cello and piano. The piece was therefore often referred to as “Sonata in G minor for Cello and Piano”.

Join us for the concert on February 12, 2015 http://www.music-toronto.com/discovery/Bertoli_Marleyn.htm

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The Juilliard Quartet

At 68 years young, the Juilliard Quartet (JSQ) is legendary. Originally formed with Robert Mann and Robert Koff, violist Raphael Hillyer, and cellist Arthur Winograd, the JSQ has had many successes over the years as a quartet and as individuals. The current incarnation is no different. The quartet’s current members include Joseph Lin (violin), Ronald Copes (violin), Joel Krosnick (cello), and Roger Tapping (viola).

As taken from their website, http://www.juilliardquartet.org, their aim is to “play new works as if they were established masterpieces and established masterpieces as if they were new.” They achieve this both in their live performances and in their recordings. 2011 saw them awarded the NARAS Lifetime Achievement Award for the quartets contributions to recorded classical music.

In addition to their brilliant performances, the quartet members have maintained a strong devotion to teaching over the years. The resident string quartet of the Juilliard School, each member of the quartet is on the faculty. Along with the Juilliard School, the JSQ presents a 5-day seminar each May. Here students experience private coaching with members of the quartet and participate in a public performance. Applications are currently being accepted for the May 2015 seminar http://www.juilliard.edu/youth-adult-programs/summer-programs/juilliard-string-quartet-seminar?destination=node/13617. While on tour, the JSQ frequently perform master classes. They will be presenting one for us in Toronto on Friday January 9th. All are welcome to attend, free of charge – http://music-toronto.com/outreach.htm.

Join us on Thursday January 8th and experience the JSQ live! The concert will feature pieces by Webern, Shulamit Ran, and Beethoven.

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