August 17 & 18
First Baptist Church/Hardwick Town House
In what can only be considered an epic cosmic irony, Beethoven’s 250th birthday coincided with the onset of a global pandemic! To end the 2022 season, we belatedly celebrate the milestone with music composed during the most traumatic five years of Beethoven’s creative life: the onset and total descent into profound deafness. Looking back, knowing this history and the suffering that was to come, it is astonishing to hear the pure joy and delight in life that shines throughout these three pieces. The youngest work, the Clarinet Trio, opus 11, was composed in 1797 and is a wonderful romp by a composer just starting to make a name for himself. Its attraction for a public that relished woodwind chamber music would have been strong. The final movement’s use of a very popular song for a set of variations added to the immediate appeal. Work on the Septet, opus 20 began two years later. It, too, is upbeat and energetic—and became his most popular opus during his lifetime. The Violin Sonata, opus 30 no. 3, that starts the concert was completed in the summer of 1802, just a few months before Beethoven was to pen the famous (and never-delivered) letter to his brothers, frankly outlining the depths of his despair and suicidal thoughts as he faced the inevitability of total deafness. Once again, in the thick of this, Beethoven creates an untroubled and gay piece of music that has been variously dubbed the ‘Charmer’ and the ‘Champaign Sonata’.