Aspen Music Festival And School

A Recital by Alisa Weilerstein cello and Inon Barnatan piano

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BEETHOVEN: Cello Sonata in F major, op. 5, no. 1
BEETHOVEN: Cello Sonata in G minor, op. 5, no. 2
BEETHOVEN: Cello Sonata in A major, op. 69
BEETHOVEN: Cello Sonata in C major, op. 102, no. 1
BEETHOVEN: Cello Sonata in D major, op. 102, no. 2

In 2018, Alisa Weilerstein wowed the Harris Concert Hall audience with her performance of all six of Bach’s cello suites. Now she returns with pianist Inon Barnatan for another musical tour de force: all five of Beethoven’s cello sonatas. The two have a long history of making musical magic together. “Their interpretations were like a series of marvelously expressive close-ups: every note and phrase pinned to an exact emotion, every emotion saturating the frame,” raved the Boston Globe. Hearing these works in chronological order will take you on a journey through Beethoven’s life and its three major periods.

The first two were written when he was only 25 and not yet suffering from the deafness which would dominate the rest of his life. In an effort to advance his career, he embarked on a five-month tour playing the piano in his own works. This included performances for the King of Prussia, an amateur cellist for whom both Haydn and Mozart had composed. Not one to let the cellist steal the spotlight, Beethoven wrote these first two sonatas to show off the piano with the cello playing a secondary role.

By the time Beethoven wrote the Third Sonata, his deafness had worsened to the point where he considered suicide, but as is so often the case with works from this anguished time, this sonata exudes optimism, serenity, and joy. In this audience favorite, he treats the cello and piano as equal partners.

The last two sonatas date from the late period, and are more dramatic and profoundly spiritual. Sink into the gorgeous prayer-like slow movement of the last sonata and then be carried away by the rollicking fugue of the finale which also conveys a sense of defiant triumph.

Celebrate the Beethoven year with this rare chance to hear all five of these sonatas by two of the most extraordinary artists of our time.

Tickets will remain on hold for 30 minutes.

Robert Spano, Music Director

Alan Fletcher, President and CEO