Dear FLCE Audience Members,
I always feel like I'm coming home when I'm playing or listening to Beethoven. His music has made a profound impact on me since my childhood. Whether it's his symphonies, concertos, chamber music, or piano sonatas, it speaks to the deepest center of who I am.
I've studied and performed the last three sonatas of Beethoven for many years, and every time they seem insurmountable— technically, aesthetically and emotionally—yet I find myself drawn to them. For me, his music is the most human; in his last sonatas, especially, he seems to be struggling with his own demons, striving to express what's most noble, and searching for the sublime and, in turn, giving voice to his and my own humanity.
Each of these three sonatas has a distinctive aura, another vision of Truth and Beauty.
Op. 109 begins as a quest, searching for the right questions to ask. By the time I arrive at the last measure, I experience a feeling of reverence, a prayer answered in silence—a benediction.
Op. 110 opens a vista of beauty as viewed from some Olympian height—only to be plunged into the "dark night of the soul", and then, like a Phoenix rising from the ashes, released in a glorious blaze of exaltation.
Op. 111 attempts to express what cannot be expressed. Beethoven had a strong interest in metaphysical thought and Eastern religions. He copied and kept under glass on his desk this inscription from the statue of Isis: "I am everything that is, that was, and that shall be. No mortal man has lifted my veil". His final sonata breaks through the impenetrable veil and soars to a timeless transcendence, ending in ineffable silence.
It is heartening to remember how Beethoven, despite his own isolation caused by social awkwardness and increasing deafness, strived to communicate his hope for universal brotherhood, freedom, and joy.
I hope that during our own pandemic 'isolation', you find consolation in his sonatas and experience community with others. As Beethoven wrote to his patron and friend Archduke Rudolf, "From the heart—may it also again—go to the heart".
— Michael Salmirs, January 2021
Joseph Haydn (1732–1809)
Allegro con spirito
Finale: Allegro, ma non troppo
Janet Sung and Lara Sipols, violins
Roberta Crawford, viola
Stefan Reuss, cello
June 4, 2017
Lodi Historical Society Building
Lodi, New York
Robert J. Spear, recording engineer