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Beethoven Weekend

Page history last edited by PBworks 15 years, 5 months ago

Beethoven Weekend


An exciting weekend of Beethoven’s works for piano and cello was held in November 2005 at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. This was part of the bi-annual “BachAnnalia” series organized and led by Professor Yehuda Hanani.


The performers included cellists Yehuda Hanani, Darrett Atkins, and Colin Carr, along with pianists Walter Ponce, Angela Cheng, Thomas Sauer, and Peter Pesic. They performed the five piano-cello sonatas, as well as the variations on Judas Maccabeus, Bei Mannern, and Ein Maedchen. Workshop students also performed the cello part of the Ode to Joy


The weekend’s master classes were divided into three sections: Beethoven’s “Evolution of Harmony,” “Evolution of Dialogue,” and “Evolution of Instruments.” What made the master classes especially interesting was that all the professional performers participated, discussing the works played, Beethoven’s life, the pianos he used, and the development of his music.


Walter Ponce pointed out that Beethoven wrote many more notes for the piano than cello and marked the piano music forte. Beethoven’s piano, though, was far weaker than its modern counterparts. So in performing the sonatas today, the piano is best played mezzo forte or even lower to create better balance. Others commented on the contrast between music teachers of the past, who tended to be tyrannical, and present-day teachers, who more often take a respectful approach and encourage students’ creativity.


The weekend presented food for thought on many subjects. The question was raised as to whether we have too many music students aspiring to professional careers that are not available. Another interesting perspective was that tempos for classical music have greatly increased, possibly due to the pace of modern life. Also, globalization the internet, DVDs, CD have led to the blurring of national playing styles represented in the past by, for example, the Russian school and the French school. Even distinctions between individual performers may blurred somewhat.


The weekend, which was free and open to all, was co-sponsored by the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music and the instrument dealers Bein and Fushi. Watch for news about Professor Hanani’s BachAnnalia 2007. – Carol Newman

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