Union Hall, Maribor

23. 9. 2018 at 19:30

Nicolas Altstaedt, Cello
Alexander Lonquich, Piano

Ludwig van Beethoven:
Sonata for Cello and Piano No. 1 in F Major, Op. 5, No. 1
Sonata for Cello and Piano No. 2 in G minor, Op. 5, No. 2
Sonata for Cello and Piano No. 3 in A major, Op. 69
Sonata for Cello and Piano No. 4 in C major, Op. 102, No. 1
Sonata for Cello and Piano No. 5 in D major, Op. 102, No. 2

Ludwig van Beethoven's personality manifests an indomitable power of the heart. Only a composer's genius accompanied by the love of mankind and faith in its goodness could have created the opus that Beethoven left us. He was driven by life’s necessities, high ideals of a better world, the force of individual expression and belief in human subtlety and its power of perception. While the average minds of his time could only see in this intense artist of brilliant thought an untamable and maladjusted oddity, Beethoven fascinated the great Goethe himself, who after an impromptu meeting during summer holidays wrote: "I have never seen an artist who was so singular, energetic, sensitive. I understand very well how he marvels at the world."

Beethoven's intrepid musical heart and the sheer power of his free brilliant spirit come to full expression with extraordinary beauty in his five sonatas for cello and piano. With these compositions, he broke new ground, because there had been no previous masterpieces for this musical duo.  He had free rein to explore new possibilities with unbridled imagination and without the pressure of old conventions. The cello part sings and is brought to light as never before. Moreover, the whole cycle of sonatas discloses the development of Beethoven's style over several decades. It reveals the reflection of the young composer as well as the characteristically mature Beethoven, who forcefully developed long and complex musical thought, taking hold of the so desired freedom of expression.

Explicit creative freedom and an in-depth knowledge of Beethoven's work is also characteristic of the musical tandem composed of Alexandrer Lonquich and Nicolas Altstaedt. Few can master the physical and spiritual challenge which the recreation of all five Beethoven's sonatas for cello and piano in a single evening represents. The intensity and commitment of the musicians on this evening, dedicated to Beethoven, will be a special treat for the most passionate and devoted visitors of the Maribor Festival.

"The performance of all 5 Beethoven Sonatas for piano and violoncello (as the composer used to call them at that time) is also for us, interpreters, a voyage of discovery of a special kind. We have the opportunity to encounter three phases of his work and to take part in unprecedented stylistic changes. Both two-movement Sonatas Op. 5 from 1796 are bolder than similar works for piano solo of the time.
We unexpectedly find ourselves in 1808: The Sonata Op. 69 is a wonderful example of the mature, large-scale work of his "middle" years; with their empathy for this world the musicians come close to an ecstatic dimension, which Hölderlin could have described as "holy sobriety".
And another leap in time: the wealth of invention of 1815 provides the cer-tainty that Beethoven evaded any fixed musical form, even if his musical writing referred greatly to the past. Thus, the closing fugue of the Sonata Op. 102, No. 2 is one of the first examples in his late work of his ongoing fascination with the music of Johann Sebastian Bach. But nothing is predictable, Beethoven introduces new arrangements from bar to bar, everything is surprising and compressed at the same time. Thus, the Sonata op. 102 No.1 already has a unique form, two slow introductions follow two fast movements. And the peacefulness that runs through the profound, slow middle movement of the 5th Sonata to an almost final standstill never serves as relaxation. The musicians and listeners, sitting on the edge of their seats, are called to solve puzzles. There remains something intangible, almost irritating, which makes us wish again and again to get to know the work even more profoundly next time."
Alexander Lonquich


* Tickets: 20 € / Pre-sale 16 € / Senior 16 € / Students, Disability 10 €
 Discounted tickets can be purchased at the Information office of Narodni dom Maribor or at the concert venue up to an hour before the concert.
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