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BEETHOVEN SEMINAR

Beethoven: master of drama

  • 27 September 2017, 14 February and 23 May 2018
  • Música de Cambra

Beethoven from the Inside: A Musician’s View of Beethoven’s Genius.
Three free sessions (prior registration essential for each session), by Jonathan Brown (Casals Quartet).

Program

The music of Ludwig van Beethoven can be understood from many different perspectives, but its genius rests undoubtedly on its emotional architecture, how he built structures over time which create incredible dramatic tension and necessitate cathartic release. If one wants to understand a great building one can walk around it, examine its blueprints and admire its details; but what with a string quartet where the sounds are intangible, always moving forward in time, escaping easy deconstruction? Beethoven’s principally experimented by writing for his own instrument, the piano: through an examination of the three archetypal movements of the piano sonatas (and string quartets): Sonata Form, Theme and Variations and Fugue; we will seek to understand the inner workings of his music, thereby gaining a deeper appreciation of Beethoven’s inner world and its relevance in the 21st Century.

Each presentation will last approximately one hour, including a detailed look at each movement with musical examples, followed by a performance of the movement in question by three gifted young Catalan pianists studying at ESMuC.

Wednesday 27 September 2017 at 19:00. HALL 4

Sonata Form: Sonata for Piano Solo Opus 31/3: Allegro

At the heart of every sonata, string quartet or symphony which Beethoven wrote, lies what we now call a movement in ‘sonata form,’ which can be understood as a presentation of conflicting ideas; their development, deconstruction and conflict; followed by a resolution or catharsis - or in Hegelian terms: thesis, antithesis and synthesis. By examining step by step the rhetorical posture of the basic elements of this sonata we will see how Beethoven both establishes and subverts the expectations the listener has for this process and see that at the heart of Beethoven’s conflicts also lies a great unity of form.

Victor Braojos, piano


Wednesday 14 February 2018 at 19:00. HALL 4

Theme and Variations: Sonata for Piano Solo Opus 109: Gesangvoll, mit innigster Empfindung. Andante molto cantabile ed espressivo

Beethoven was a master improviser, a musical magician capable of transforming the most basic musical materials into masterpieces of unfathomable profundity. How did he do it? Beethoven’s music resists facile emotional classification: at the heart of every comic moment lies tragedy and pathos is always leavened by humor. Nowhere is this more clearly revealed than in the great theme and variation movements written at the end of his life: we will walk through this process together, revealing how the most disparate emotional ‘Affekts’ spring from a common musical source.

Eudald Buch, piano


Wednesday 23 May 2018 at 19:00. HALL 3

Fugue: Sonata for Piano Solo Opus 110: Allegro ma non troppo

Living in near complete deafness, Beethoven in 1821 was both a radical visionary and a musical reactionary, the composer who most defined the music of the future and the one most bound to ‘outmoded’ forms from the past. Critical to understanding this late period is the fugue: a compositional process mastered by Johann Sebastian Bach in which different voices repeat and manipulate the same basic theme(s), thus creating an extraordinarily dense musical rhetoric. Among the most challenging works for any instrumentalist (and listener), we will seek to understand this fugue’s inner emotional logic by examining it motive by motive as well as identifying its larger structural signposts.

Joan Ramon Salamó, piano

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