Aspen Music Festival And School

“Heroic Beethoven” - Chamber Music with Jeremy Denk piano, Alexi Kenney violin, and Jay Campbell cello

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BEETHOVEN: Violin Sonata No. 10 in G major, op. 96
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BEETHOVEN: Piano Trio in B-flat major, op. 97, “Archduke”
BEETHOVEN: An die ferne Geliebte, op. 98

In 1802, at only 32, Beethoven could no longer deny his increasing deafness. His despair led him to contemplate suicide, but ultimately to assert, in his words, “to seize fate by the throat” and fully embrace his artistic destiny. What followed were ten astonishingly productive years that are known as his middle, or heroic period. These are the works which audiences associate with the “famous” Beethoven. The Fifth Symphony, Violin Concerto, his only opera Fidelio, and other works which deal with overcoming struggle, all come from this time.

This varied and inspiring program features vocal and chamber music masterpieces performed by illustrious artists. Beethoven composed the lovely song "An die Hoffnung" for a countess, but later removed the dedication when she rejected his advances. The “distant beloved” referenced in “An die ferne Geliebte” remains a mystery. It’s likely that Beethoven was still pining for his “Immortal Beloved,” to whom he’d written an anguished letter four years earlier since a month after the song cycle’s completion, he wrote to a friend about “one woman whom I shall doubtless never possess.”

Beethoven’s last Violin Sonata is one of his most graceful and lyrical, with an especially ravishing, hymn-like movement. The finale, with its folksy theme, is full of boisterous humor and surprises.

The “Archduke” is the crown jewel of Beethoven’s piano trios, and often regarded as the greatest of the genre by any composer.

Celebrate Beethoven’s 250th with this stellar collection of masterworks from his heroic period.

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Robert Spano, Music Director

Alan Fletcher, President and CEO