Martin Beaver, violin
Jonathan Crow, violin
Yura Lee, violin/viola
Eric Nowlin, viola
Nicholas Canellakis, cello
Cameron Crozman, cello
Nicolas Namoradze, piano
Philip Chiu, piano
Beethoven: Piano Sonata No. 8 in C minor, Op. 13, Pathétique
Strauss: Sonata for Violin and Piano in E-flat Major, Op. 18
Brahms: Sextet No. 2 in G Major, Op. 36
A glittering roster of talent brings this program of mainstream Austro-German music vividly to life. The performing lineup gradually increases from one to six players, but an emphasis on warmth and drama remains a constant throughout the evening. The concert opens with one of Beethoven’s earliest piano treasures, the bold and heartfelt “Pathétique” Sonata. The ardent Violin Sonata by the twenty-four-year-old Richard Strauss demonstrates a genuine skill at creating a Beethoven-like balance of Classical and Romantic styles.
There have never been many string sextets. Boccherini, Spohr, Dvořák, Tchaikovsky, Schoenberg and Korngold are among the few composers who have taken up the medium’s considerable challenges. The intimidating shadow of Beethoven’s string quartets kept Brahms from composing any of his own. He took steps along the demanding path to doing so during the early 1860s by creating two string sextets, thus avoiding a direct comparison with Beethoven’s string quartets. They are as great as any ever written. He cast both of them on a vast, virtually symphonic scale, and made sure to make full use of the medium’s rich textures.