Beethoven Unleashed - Conversations With Friends

Episodes

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01From Haydn's Shadow20200210This week cellist Raphael Wallfisch and violinist Sara Bitlloch join Donald Macleod to talk about Beethoven’s early chamber music from 1795 to 1811, including beloved works such as the ‘Razumovsky’ quartets, the ‘Kreutzer’ violin sonata, and the ‘Ghost’ and ‘Archduke’ piano trios.

Today they look at Beethoven’s emergence from the shadow of both Haydn and Mozart, and how the composer forged a distinctive new style of chamber music.

At the age of 16 Beethoven travelled from his native city of Bonn to Vienna to have lessons with Mozart. It didn’t happen because Beethoven’s mother became ill and he had to return home. He later did have lessons with Haydn, but subsequently said that he’d never learned anything from him!

Beethoven was a virtuoso pianist and, though he loathed performing in public, in the early years of his career in Vienna he relied on his instrumental skill to establish himself as a composer. His early compositions are dominated by piano music; his first big orchestral works are piano concertos not symphonies; and nearly all his early chamber music involves the piano.

String Trio No 3 in G major: Op 9, No 1 (3rd movement - excerpt; 4th movement)
Itzhak Perlman, violin
Pinchas Zukerman, viola
Lynn Harrell, cello

Cello Sonata in F major Op 5 No 1 (Allegro)
Gregor Piatigorsky, cello
Solomon, piano

Piano Trio in C minor Op 1 No 3 (4th movement)
Beaux Arts Trio

String quartet in F major Op 18 No 1 (2nd movement)
Takács Quartet

Violin Sonata in D major Op 12 No 1 (1st movement)
Alina Ibragimova, violin
Cédric Tiberghien, piano

Produced by Iain Chambers for BBC Wales

Donald Macleod describes how Beethoven forged a distinctive new style of chamber music.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

01From Haydn's shadow20200210This week cellist Raphael Wallfisch and violinist Sara Bitlloch join Donald Macleod to talk about Beethoven’s early chamber music from 1795 to 1811, including beloved works such as the ‘Razumovsky’ quartets, the ‘Kreutzer’ violin sonata, and the ‘Ghost’ and ‘Archduke’ piano trios.

Today they look at Beethoven’s emergence from the shadow of both Haydn and Mozart, and how the composer forged a distinctive new style of chamber music.

At the age of 16 Beethoven travelled from his native city of Bonn to Vienna to have lessons with Mozart. It didn’t happen because Beethoven’s mother became ill and he had to return home. He later did have lessons with Haydn, but subsequently said that he’d never learned anything from him!

Beethoven was a virtuoso pianist and, though he loathed performing in public, in the early years of his career in Vienna he relied on his instrumental skill to establish himself as a composer. His early compositions are dominated by piano music; his first big orchestral works are piano concertos not symphonies; and nearly all his early chamber music involves the piano.

String Trio No 3 in G major: Op 9, No 1 (3rd movement - excerpt; 4th movement)
Itzhak Perlman, violin
Pinchas Zukerman, viola
Lynn Harrell, cello

Cello Sonata in F major Op 5 No 1 (Allegro)
Gregor Piatigorsky, cello
Solomon, piano

Piano Trio in C minor Op 1 No 3 (4th movement)
Beaux Arts Trio

String quartet in F major Op 18 No 1 (2nd movement)
Takács Quartet

Violin Sonata in D major Op 12 No 1 (1st movement)
Alina Ibragimova, violin
Cédric Tiberghien, piano

Produced by Iain Chambers for BBC Wales

Donald Macleod describes how Beethoven forged a distinctive new style of chamber music.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

02Instruments Get Their Voice20200211This week cellist Raphael Wallfisch and violinist Sara Bitlloch join Donald Macleod to talk about Beethoven’s early chamber music from 1795 to 1811, including beloved works such as the ‘Razumovsky’ quartets, the ‘Kreutzer’ violin sonata, and the ‘Ghost’ and ‘Archduke’ piano trios.

Today they look at Beethoven’s innovation of giving chamber music instruments equal roles, blurring the lines between the lead and the accompaniment.

Beethoven’s quintets show him expanding his sound world. In his Opus 29, the shorter-breathed elements of his early quartets give way to a more spacious lyricism, creating an effect of almost orchestral richness and weight.

We’ll also hear from Beethoven’s first set of string quartets, the Opus 18, as well as his second cello sonata.

Sonatina in C major for mandolin and piano WoO44 No 1
Duilio Galfetti, mandolin
Diego Fasolis, fortepiano

String Quartet in C minor Op 18 No 4 (3rd movement)
Belcea Quartet

Violin Sonata in A major Op 30 No 1 (3rd movement)
Isabelle Faust, violin
Alexander Melnikov, piano

Serenade in D major Op 8 (1st and 2nd movements)
Trio Zimmermann

Cello Sonata No 2 in G minor Op 5 (1st movement)
Adrian Brendel, cello
Alfred Brendel, piano

String Quintet in C major Op 29 (4th movement)
Academy of St Martin in the Fields

Produced by Iain Chambers for BBC Wales

Donald Macleod explores Beethoven's innovation of giving chamber instruments equal roles.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

02Instruments get their voice20200211This week cellist Raphael Wallfisch and violinist Sara Bitlloch join Donald Macleod to talk about Beethoven’s early chamber music from 1795 to 1811, including beloved works such as the ‘Razumovsky’ quartets, the ‘Kreutzer’ violin sonata, and the ‘Ghost’ and ‘Archduke’ piano trios.

Today they look at Beethoven’s innovation of giving chamber music instruments equal roles, blurring the lines between the lead and the accompaniment.

Beethoven’s quintets show him expanding his sound world. In his Opus 29, the shorter-breathed elements of his early quartets give way to a more spacious lyricism, creating an effect of almost orchestral richness and weight.

We’ll also hear from Beethoven’s first set of string quartets, the Opus 18, as well as his second cello sonata.

Sonatina in C major for mandolin and piano WoO44 No 1
Duilio Galfetti, mandolin
Diego Fasolis, fortepiano

String Quartet in C minor Op 18 No 4 (3rd movement)
Belcea Quartet

Violin Sonata in A major Op 30 No 1 (3rd movement)
Isabelle Faust, violin
Alexander Melnikov, piano

Serenade in D major Op 8 (1st and 2nd movements)
Trio Zimmermann

Cello Sonata No 2 in G minor Op 5 (1st movement)
Adrian Brendel, cello
Alfred Brendel, piano

String Quintet in C major Op 29 (4th movement)
Academy of St Martin in the Fields

Produced by Iain Chambers for BBC Wales

Donald Macleod explores Beethoven's innovation of giving chamber instruments equal roles.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

03Chamber Music Turns Pro20200212This week cellist Raphael Wallfisch and violinist Sara Bitlloch join Donald Macleod to talk about Beethoven’s early chamber music from 1795 to 1811, including beloved works such as the ‘Razumovsky’ quartets, the ‘Kreutzer’ violin sonata, and the ‘Ghost’ and ‘Archduke’ piano trios.

Today they look at how Beethoven’s music, as it developed and became more complex, had the effect of turning chamber music professional: what he was writing was too challenging for amateur players, and often too serious for the salon.

We hear great music from the Razumovsky String Quartets, the Kreutzer Violin Sonata, the Septet and the Kakadu Variations.

The ‘Razumovskys’ were composed between April and November of 1806, at the end of what was an astonishingly productive three years of Beethoven’s life, when he produced a series of radically different masterpieces.

Piano Trio Op 121a, “Kakadu Variations”
Florestan Trio

String Quartet in F major No 7, Op 59 (“Razumovsky”) (4th movement)
Takács Quartet

Violin Sonata in A major No. 9 Op 47 ("Kreutzer") (1st movement)
Itzhak Perlman, violin
Vladimir Ashkenazy, piano

Septet in E flat major for clarinet, horn, bassoon, violin, viola, cello and double bass Op 20 (2nd movement)
Academy of St Martin in the Fields Chamber Ensemble

Produced by Iain Chambers for BBC Wales

Donald Macleod discusses how Beethoven's work ended up turning chamber music professional.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

03Chamber music turns pro20200212This week cellist Raphael Wallfisch and violinist Sara Bitlloch join Donald Macleod to talk about Beethoven’s early chamber music from 1795 to 1811, including beloved works such as the ‘Razumovsky’ quartets, the ‘Kreutzer’ violin sonata, and the ‘Ghost’ and ‘Archduke’ piano trios.

Today they look at how Beethoven’s music, as it developed and became more complex, had the effect of turning chamber music professional: what he was writing was too challenging for amateur players, and often too serious for the salon.

We hear great music from the Razumovsky String Quartets, the Kreutzer Violin Sonata, the Septet and the Kakadu Variations.

The ‘Razumovskys’ were composed between April and November of 1806, at the end of what was an astonishingly productive three years of Beethoven’s life, when he produced a series of radically different masterpieces.

Piano Trio Op 121a, “Kakadu Variations ?
Florestan Trio

String Quartet in F major No 7, Op 59 (“Razumovsky ?) (4th movement)
Takács Quartet

Violin Sonata in A major No. 9 Op 47 ("Kreutzer") (1st movement)
Itzhak Perlman, violin
Vladimir Ashkenazy, piano

Septet in E flat major for clarinet, horn, bassoon, violin, viola, cello and double bass Op 20 (2nd movement)
Academy of St Martin in the Fields Chamber Ensemble

Produced by Iain Chambers for BBC Wales

Donald Macleod discusses how Beethoven's work ended up turning chamber music professional.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

04A Return To Melody20200213This week cellist Raphael Wallfisch and violinist Sara Bitlloch join Donald Macleod to talk about Beethoven’s early chamber music from 1795 to 1811, including beloved works such as the ‘Razumovsky’ quartets, the ‘Kreutzer’ violin sonata, and the ‘Ghost’ and ‘Archduke’ piano trios.

Beethoven’s composing career is generally divided into three phases: the Early Period, up to 1802; the compositions that make up his Middle Period, the years from 1803 to 1814; and lastly the extraordinary, ambitious works composed between then and his death.

Today we look at Beethoven’s return to lyrical melody in the years around 1800, and hear music including the ‘Harp’ Quartet, the Opus 70 Piano Trio, the third “Razumovsky” String Quartet, and the “Spring” Violin Sonata, containing one of the most famous melodies in Beethoven’s chamber music output.

String Quartet in C major Op 59 No 3 (“Razumovsky”) (1st movement)
Takács Quartet

Piano Trio No 5 in D major Op 70 No 1 ("Ghost") (2nd movement)
Andreas Staier fortepiano
Daniel Sepec, violin
Jean-Guihen Queyras, cello

Violin Sonata No 5 in F major Op 24 ("Spring") (1st and 4th movements)
Isabelle Faust, violin
Alexander Melnikov, piano

String Quartet in E flat Op 74 (“Harp”) (1st movement)
Lindsay Quartet

Produced by Iain Chambers for BBC Wales

Donald Macleod explores Beethoven's return to lyrical melody in the years around 1800.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

04A return to melody20200213This week cellist Raphael Wallfisch and violinist Sara Bitlloch join Donald Macleod to talk about Beethoven’s early chamber music from 1795 to 1811, including beloved works such as the ‘Razumovsky’ quartets, the ‘Kreutzer’ violin sonata, and the ‘Ghost’ and ‘Archduke’ piano trios.

Beethoven’s composing career is generally divided into three phases: the Early Period, up to 1802; the compositions that make up his Middle Period, the years from 1803 to 1814; and lastly the extraordinary, ambitious works composed between then and his death.

Today we look at Beethoven’s return to lyrical melody in the years around 1800, and hear music including the ‘Harp’ Quartet, the Opus 70 Piano Trio, the third “Razumovsky ? String Quartet, and the “Spring ? Violin Sonata, containing one of the most famous melodies in Beethoven’s chamber music output.

String Quartet in C major Op 59 No 3 (“Razumovsky ?) (1st movement)
Takács Quartet

Piano Trio No 5 in D major Op 70 No 1 ("Ghost") (2nd movement)
Andreas Staier fortepiano
Daniel Sepec, violin
Jean-Guihen Queyras, cello

Violin Sonata No 5 in F major Op 24 ("Spring") (1st and 4th movements)
Isabelle Faust, violin
Alexander Melnikov, piano

String Quartet in E flat Op 74 (“Harp ?) (1st movement)
Lindsay Quartet

Produced by Iain Chambers for BBC Wales

Donald Macleod explores Beethoven's return to lyrical melody in the years around 1800.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

05Striking Forwards20200214This week cellist Raphael Wallfisch and violinist Sara Bitlloch join Donald Macleod to talk about Beethoven’s early chamber music from 1795 to 1811, including beloved works such as the ‘Razumovsky’ quartets, the ‘Kreutzer’ violin sonata, and the ‘Ghost’ and ‘Archduke’ piano trios.

Today they explore the way Beethoven’s chamber music of his Middle Period began to push towards and anticipate his final creative phase.

Beethoven’s composing career is generally divided into three phases: the Early Period, up to 1802; the compositions that make up his Middle Period, the years from 1803 to 1814; and lastly the extraordinary, ambitious works composed between then and his death.

Today we hear significant works from Beethoven’s oeuvre, including the “Serioso” String Quartet, his Third Cello Sonata, and his “Archduke” Piano Trio.

String Trio in C minor Op 9 No 3 (1st mvt)
The Leopold Trio

String Quartet in F minor (“Serioso”) Op 95 (1st and 4th mvts)
Belcea Quartet

Cello Sonata No. 3 in A major Op 69 (1st mvt)
Adrian Brendel, cello
Alfred Brendel, piano

Piano Trio in B flat ("Archduke") Op 97 (1st mvt)
Trio Shaham Erez Wallfisch

Produced by Iain Chambers for BBC Wales

Donald Macleod reveals how Beethoven's chamber works anticipated his final creative phase.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

05Striking forwards20200214This week cellist Raphael Wallfisch and violinist Sara Bitlloch join Donald Macleod to talk about Beethoven’s early chamber music from 1795 to 1811, including beloved works such as the ‘Razumovsky’ quartets, the ‘Kreutzer’ violin sonata, and the ‘Ghost’ and ‘Archduke’ piano trios.

Today they explore the way Beethoven’s chamber music of his Middle Period began to push towards and anticipate his final creative phase.

Beethoven’s composing career is generally divided into three phases: the Early Period, up to 1802; the compositions that make up his Middle Period, the years from 1803 to 1814; and lastly the extraordinary, ambitious works composed between then and his death.

Today we hear significant works from Beethoven’s oeuvre, including the “Serioso ? String Quartet, his Third Cello Sonata, and his “Archduke ? Piano Trio.

String Trio in C minor Op 9 No 3 (1st mvt)
The Leopold Trio

String Quartet in F minor (“Serioso ?) Op 95 (1st and 4th mvts)
Belcea Quartet

Cello Sonata No. 3 in A major Op 69 (1st mvt)
Adrian Brendel, cello
Alfred Brendel, piano

Piano Trio in B flat ("Archduke") Op 97 (1st mvt)
Trio Shaham Erez Wallfisch

Produced by Iain Chambers for BBC Wales

Donald Macleod reveals how Beethoven's chamber works anticipated his final creative phase.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.