Strings Retuned

Beethoven's 250th Birthday

Episode Summary

The premiere “Strings Retuned” episode celebrates 250 years of the world’s love affair with Ludwig Van Beethoven. Western classical’s most brilliant mad genius is highlighted in four diverse recordings and historical commentary.

Episode Notes

The Beethoven 250 episode celebrates his quarter-millenium birthday with a string quartet, cello and piano duo, and two chamber orchestras performing Symphonies Nos. 2 and 4. Music Director Michael Sachs hosts the program, and is joined by commentator Jamey Lamar, violinist John Macfarlane, bassoonist William Short, and cellist Joel Noyes. 

Meet your host, Music Director Michael Sachs

@ 00:29
Jamey Lamar shares a clever overview of Ludwig’s life and attitudes, and how Beethoven, “you beet farmer,” changed the image of the classical composer forever, from the staid image of “Papa Haydn” to a man who couldn’t care less what the aristocracy thought about him, and offered a vision of classical music that was wild and inclusive. 
“You believed in us. You kept reorienting us to our shared humanity. Nobody’s left out of your vision from the world.” 

@ 05:45
John Macfarlane offers insight to the early, middle, and late string quartets of Beethoven, and a deep-dive into the keys, moods, and melodies of String Quartet No. 5, Op. 18.
“This [No. 5] shows a young brash man who you could imagine would show up at a fancy dinner party announcing himself and be charming and witty, and at the same time, be a really rude presence in the room.”

@ 08:32
Jump to String Quartet No. 5 performed by the Attacca Quartet 

@ 15:23
Michael Sachs provides an intense look into Beethoven’s emotions as the composer pours his soul into Symphony No. 2.
“Reflecting on his struggle, I think we can all relate to difficult times and acute uncertainty.”

@ 16:45
Jump to Symphony No. 2 

@ 28:14
Joel Noyes speaks to Beethoven’s variation on Mozart’s opera, and demos multiple melodies on his 1860 J.B. Vuillaume cello for the audience to catch in the performance. The piece is performed by Joel and pianist Benjamin Hochman.
“This an exceptional piece .. the joy of playing it is Beethoven’s mastery of the material and his ability to combine Mozart’s genius with Beethoven’s fingerprints all over it.”

@ 32:52
Jump to 7 Variations 

Meet William Short, and hear his explanation of the most fearsome bassoon solo in the classical repertoire. 
“But those few measures of music just stretch on forever because you’re intimately aware through the hundreds and thousands of hours you’ve practiced them of every single thing that can go wrong.”

Jump to Symphony No. 4 

Pieces Performed

BEETHOVEN String Quartet No. 5 in A Major, Op.18 I. Allegro 
Attacca String Quartet | performed at Strings Music Festival in 2018

BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 2 in D Major, Op. 36 II. Larghetto 
Strings Festival Orchestra/Michael Sachs, Conductor | performed at Strings Music Festival in 2016

BEETHOVEN 7 Variations on “Bei Mannern, Welche Liebe Fuhlen” in E-flat Major Wo046, from Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte 
Joel Noyes, Cello
Benjamin Hochman, Piano
performed at Strings Music Festival in 2019

BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 4 in B-flat Major, Op. 60 IV. Allegro ma non troppo 
Strings Festival Orchestra/Michael Sachs, Conductor | performed at Strings Music Festival in 2019

About Strings Music Festival in Steamboat Springs, Colorado: Strings Music Festival presents music of the highest quality in an intimate mountain setting. Our summer festival includes a genre-spanning lineup featuring classical musicians from the nation’s top orchestras and chart-topping popular contemporary artists, all of whom perform in an intimate, 569-seat Pavilion nestled at the base of Steamboat’s mountains. Outside of our venue, we serve the community with a variety of free programming and a free in-school education program called Strings School Days. 
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