Beethoven for a Later Age

The string quartet, with its four individual participants, represents one of the most demanding configurations of human cooperation needed to achieve a result that cannot be achieved by one individual alone. The object of the string quartet is, of course, to re-create, perform, and communicate music in the service of art in the service of…

Arturo Toscanini (Courtesy: fineartsamerica.com)

Beethoven – Symphony 7 in A, Op. 92 (1812)

The November, 1951, Carnegie Hall recording by Arturo Toscanini: Still unparalleled in bringing out the power, violence, the remarkable modulations through semitonal shifts of single notes, and vehemence of the rhythms. Basil Lam, in his 1966 essay on the Beethoven symphonies, edited by Robert Simpson, writes, “With this composition Beethoven lifted to the limits of human capacity…

Guillaume Tardif introducing the concert, Edmonton City Hall, 8 March 2015 (Photo: Hendrik Slegtenhorst)

Edmonton’s Enterprise Quartet – Une sensibilité sûre et sérieuse

Edmonton’s Enterprise Quartet, in another exceptional concert, last Sunday afternoon, at City Hall, to a full house, played quartets by Cherubini and Beethoven. The Enterprise Quartet is comprised of Guillaume Tardif, first violin; Yue Deng, second violin; Leanne Maitland, viola; and, Colin Ryan, violoncello. The Beethoven Op. 95 in f minor from 1811 has long been…

Anton Diabelli (Courtesy: en.wikipedia.org)

Diabelli Variations, Op. 120 – Beethoven (1819-23)

Having last year again studied, with the remarkable insight available from András Schiff, all of Beethoven’s piano sonatas, I have now made my way, after several attempts the last months, with interruptions due to computer collapse and interpersonal commitments, through Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations. Add to this a general loss of direction as one attempts to…

The Count of Egmont

Occasional Notes on the Works of Beethoven

Symphony 1 in C, Op. 21 (1800). – Toscanini recording of 21 December 1951. Remains an undiminished interpretation. Symphony 2 in D, Op. 36 (1802). The 1949-51 composite recording by Toscanini and the NBC Symphony Orchestra. Beethoven’s use of form is architectural and harmonic, and the expressive is in the service of these. This is increasingly the…