Beethoven Clarinet Trio Op. 11

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827 ) is today one of the most performed and loved composers, whose music is considered by many to be the pinnacle of musical genius, defining all that was to follow. Beethoven’s early compositions are therefore particularly intriguing, as they show the young composer, still strongly influenced by his teachers and the fashions of the time, while also displaying glimpses of an independence that would in time change musical composition forever.

Ludwig van Beethoven in 1803

Ludwig van Beethoven in 1803 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After Haydn heard some of Beethoven’s early compositions during a visit to Bonn in 1792 he invited the young composer to come to Vienna to study with him there. Beethoven took up the offer, and although the lessons were not entirely successful, many important compositions, including the Clarinet trio in Bb Op. 11, were products of his time studying in Vienna and these compositions still show a strong relationship to Haydn’s work. Beethoven’s own voice is also apparent nonetheless – in the use of sudden, extreme dynamics and in the light-hearted set of variations on a theme from a popular opera that conclude the work. But perhaps the greatest sign of Beethoven’s genius lies in the real heart of this clarinet trio, the profoundly moving second movement. The trio was written in 1798, the same year Beethoven discovered he was losing his hearing. We cannot really know what influence this event had on his work, but nonetheless the terrible tragedy of his affliction makes this singing, mournful movement even more affecting.

– Notes by Clare Kahn (cello)

Concert on Wednesday 4th April, 7pm 

St Philip’s Anglican Church, 3 York Street, Sydney

Tickets can be purchased online here or at the door

$35 Adults/ $25 Concession / $15 Children (12 & under)

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