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2020-04-29

Music: Sun May 3


The relationship between young Beethoven and his short-term mentor Haydn brings to mind both “inner” and “outer” critics and their impact on creativity. Sponsored by the Elector of his native Bonn, in 1792 a 21-year-old Beethoven set out for Vienna to study with the great composer Haydn, who was his senior by almost 50 years. Anyone familiar with Beethoven’s early music recognizes the profound influence of the older composer, but their relationship was far from easy. For his part, Haydn seemed to find his junior colleague arrogant and dishonest; no doubt, Haydn knew that Beethoven’s original wish had been to study with Mozart. On the other hand, Beethoven seemed to vacillate between experiencing his teacher as disinterested or else jealous of his talent. When all is said and done, Beethoven seems to have suffered a creative dry spell during his one year of study with Haydn. The works of his performed this morning—a movement from his first piano sonata and some of his Bagatelles, Op. 33—have proven hard to date. Scholars surmise that he may have started work on these pieces before his studies with Haydn, only to complete them afterwards. In any case, he clearly sought some reconciliation with the older composer, when he dedicated his first three solo piano sonatas to him.

This morning’s Music for Parting gives a taste of Haydn’s own music—brimming with wit, and reminding us of the composer’s unending nose-thumbing at the conventions of his time.

Elsewhere, references to Looney Tunes (Stay tuned, folks!) elicit Chopin’s “Minute Waltz,” immortalized by that greatest of pianist Bugs Bunny in the 1955 feature “Of Hyde and Hare.” Unitarian composer Edvard Grieg has a quick turn, too, giving us a glimpse at a mischievous woodland troll in one of his Lyric Pieces.

The CUUC Choir is represented in recorded form with Don Bessig’s joyous “Flying Free,” as if inviting us to soar unencumbered by nattering inner critics and other albatrosses.

Read on for programming details.

Centering Music: Adam Kent, piano
Sonata No. 1 in F Minor, Op. 2, No. 1
            II. Adagio
Bagatelles, Op. 33
            II. Scherzo: Allegro
            III. Allegretto
                        Ludwig van Beethoven

Opening Music:
Bagatelles, Op. 33
I.               Andante grazioso, quasi allegretto
Beethoven

Interlude:
Waltz in Db Major, Op. 64, No. 1 “Minute”
                        Frederic Chopin

Interlude:
Little Troll, Op. 71, No. 3
                        Edvard Grieg

Anthem: CUUC Choir, directed by Lisa N. Meyer and accompanied by Georgianna Pappas
Flying Free
                        Don Besig

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