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This season at New England Conservatory, 30+ concerts demonstrate just how vital music is to human struggle, and what revolution in artistic expression sounds like. Programs range from roots music to Beethoven, fight songs to anti-war anthems. Join our year-long exploration of how music speaks truth to power!
“[Op. 26 was] the beginning of a new experimental phase. Beethoven was trying to reach new territory and new heights.”
Leoš Janáček honors a young carpenter, who died—by bayonet—in a peaceful demonstration in Brno, Czechoslovakia at the turn of the 20th century. Jan Ladislav Dussek, a favorite of Marie Antoinette, offers an alternative perspective on the Queen’s misfortunes and the French Revolution. American composer Frederic Rzewski captures the 1930s struggles of workers and unions in the United States. Beethoven’s Sonata in A-flat Major, Op. 26 finds the composer challenging many of the conventions of the canonical sonata. It is one of numerous piano sonatas in which he experimented with form, extending and enhancing the parameters of a genre that has continued to be important right up to the present.
Pianist Andras Schiff identifies Op. 26 as the first sonata of Beethoven’s middle period and “the beginning of a new experimental phase. Beethoven was trying to reach new territory and new heights.” Not only does the work open unconventionally with a Theme and Variations, but the slow movement is a funeral march "on the death of a hero," which introduces an element of programmatic content in a form that was traditionally "absolute" music. Finally, not a single movement is built on the Sonata-Allegro form—unprecedented!
Janáček: Piano Sonata “From the Street”
Beethoven: Sonata in A-Flat Major Op. 26
Dussek: The Sufferings of the Queen of France
Rzewski: Four North American Ballads
1. Dreadful Memories
2. Which Side Are You On?
3. Down By The Riverside
4. Winnsboro Cotton Mill Blues
Wesley Chu and Tsotne Tsotskhalashvili
Join us February 11 at 8pm in Jordan Hall, as the piano revolution continues with Piano, Before and After Beethoven.
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