Bryan Cultural Series brings Beethoven Sonatas to Outer Banks live virtual performance

Published 2:08 pm Wednesday, May 12, 2021

The Bryan Cultural Series and ECU’s Four Seasons Chamber Music will hold a virtual evening of Beethoven sonatas performed at All Saints Episcopal Church in Southern Shores. Featuring Four Seasons artistic director and violinist Ara Gregorian and pianist Thomas Sauer, the evening promises a world class performance of the master’s works, states the announcement.

The live performance will be Saturday, May 15 at 7 p.m.

Two of Beethoven’s sonatas will be performed: the Sonata for Piano and Violin No. 8 in G Major, Op. 30 No. 3 and the Sonata for Piano and Violin No. 9 in A Major, Op. 47 “Kreutzer.”

Both are considered challenging works, typical of Beethoven’s use of energy and the full dynamic range of the violin and piano.

The Sonata No. 8 in G Major is the third work of Op. 30, a trio of sonatas dedicated to Czar Alexander I of Russia. Completed in 1802, composition was written at a time when Beethoven was coming to terms with his increasing deafness.

The “Kreutzer” sonata is considered one of the most difficult of Beethoven’s works. At approximately 40 minutes, it is much longer than most of his compositions and the sonata presents a number of themes not common in the composer’s sonatas. As an example, the violin introduces the piece with a slow, lyrical opening – unlike all of Beethoven’s other sonatas.

There is an interesting backstory to the “Kreutzer” Sonata. Originally written for violin virtuoso George Bridgetower, the violinist and Beethoven were evidently great friends. Then, during an evening of sharing some drinks, Bridgetower made a disparaging remark about a woman the composer respected and there was a falling out.

Beethoven changed the dedication of his work to French violinist Rudolph Kreutzer, considered the greatest violinist of his day. Kreutzer and Beethoven had barely a nodding acquaintance and the violinist did not know the dedication had been changed.

Kreutzer never performed the work, considering it “outrageously unintelligible.”

Decide for yourself whether the work is “outrageously unintelligible” or genius.

For more information about the Bryan Cultural Series and to find the link to the virtual Four Seasons Chamber Music Series event, visit bryanculturalseries.org.

Support for this cultural offering of events is provided by TowneBank of Currituck, Village Realty, Ramada Plaza Hotel of Kill Devil Hills and Hilton Garden Inn of Kitty Hawk.

The Bryan Cultural Series is a non-profit organization formed in 2012.  The board of directors is composed of nine community leaders dedicated to offering a series of high quality cultural events. These events will include a variety of visual, literary and performing arts. The board strives to glean from talent that has attained regional as well as national recognition to maintain a high standard.

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