Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
Piano Trio in C Minor, Op. 1, No. 3 (1795)
Benny Kim, violin; Lynn Harrell, cello; Jeremy Denk, piano
The key of C Minor provided Beethoven with a very specific sound world. Lynn Harrell muses on that key and what it meant to other composers as well.
When Beethoven composed his Piano Trio, Op. 1, No. 3 in the key of C Minor, his teacher, Haydn, tried to dissuade him from publishing it, perhaps because this new music was aggressive, emotional and dark… all of the things that Haydn’s wasn’t! Lynn Harrell says that maybe Haydn felt all that drama as being alien to his aesthetic, not realizing it was the very essence of what differentiated his music from that of the younger composer.
Festival artistic director Marc Neikrug explains to program host Kerry Frumkin that “In the case of Beethoven, virtually every key had a certain effect on his psyche … and C Minor elicited the most profound and dramatic dark music from him.”
Arnold Schoenberg (1874-1951)
Chamber Symphony No. 1 in E Major, Op. 9 (1906)
Alan Gilbert, conductor; Tara Helen O’Connor, flute; Liang Wang, oboe; Kyle Mustain, English horn; Todd Levy & Michael Rusinek, clarinets; Stephen Ahearn, bass clarinet; Nancy Goeres, bassoon; Lewis Kirk, contrabassoon; Philip Myers & Julie Landsman, horn s; Jennifer Gilbert & Harvey de Souza, violins; Hsin-Yun Huang, viola; Eric Kim, cello; Marji Danilow, bass
Here’s an excerpt from Kerry Frumkin and Marc Neikrug’s conversation about Schoenberg’s Chamber Symphony No. 1 and the lingering hesitation many audiences experience at the mention of his name. All 12-tone music is, Marc observes, “is a methodology that Schoenberg developed later in his life for rotating the notes that we have, which happen to be 12.” This piece may explore an expanded kind of tonality and yet it “derives from the tradition of German Romantic music, from Brahms and Beethoven, to Mahler and on to Schoenberg.”
When Marc Neikrug planned the Festival’s 40th anniversary season he invited New York Philharmonic music director Alan Gilbert to be the artist in residence, and to conduct both Chamber Symphonies of Arnold Schoenberg. This turned out to be a big treat for all the musicians involved, not only for the chance to perform repertoire they would never play otherwise, but for the intimate rehearsal process with Alan Gilbert.