Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
String Trio in C Minor, Op. 9, No. 3 (1797-98)
Ida Kavafian, violin; Steven Tenenbom, viola; Peter Wiley, cello
Beethoven was deeply conscious of the great composers who came before him, and for a long time he felt reticent about walking in the footprints of Mozart and Haydn by writing a string quartet. Marc and Kerry ponder how this trio feels as if Beethoven is practicing for the real thing, as if he’s writing a quartet for just three instruments by using double stops to create that fourth voice.
Beethoven’s piano trios are “fiendishly difficult to play” says Marc. In this clip he tells Kerry that this ensemble is more than up to the challenge.
Here’s a website where they really have fun with facts about Beethoven.
Ida and Steve are married and live in Connecticut where they breed, raise and show champion Vizsla purebred dogs.
Fritz Kreisler (1875-1962)
String Quartet in A Minor (1921)
Arnold Steinhardt & Ida Kavafian, violins; Steve Tenenbom, viola; Peter Wiley, cello
What do pineapples have to do with Fritz Kreisler’s A Minor String Quartet? Violinist Ida Kavafian shares a behind-the-scenes tale of rehearsing that piece with her husband, violist Steven Tenenbom; their friend and collaborator, cellist Peter Wiley; and Peter’s colleague from the Guarneri String Quartet, the great violinist, Arnold Steinhardt.
The story goes that Kreisler composed this quartet so he could play it privately with a group of friends that included Eugene Ysaye, Jacques Thibaud and Pablo Casals. In this interview excerpt, Ida tells Kerry about the joy and virtuosity she finds in Kreisler’s music.
Arnold Steinhardt loves this piece but in the 45 years he was a member of the Guarneri Quartet, he never got to play it with them. That story came out in High Fidelity, the 1988 documentary about the Guarneris, as Arnold describes here.