To our dear audience members,
We hope this message finds you and your loved ones safe and well and enjoying the return of Spring. While there's much to be hopeful about, FLCE feels it's not yet time to safely present public performances.
So we're continuing our Music for the Pause with Music for April - Michael's video performances of the last three Beethoven Piano Sonatas. If you haven't already done so, please feel free to also browse through our earlier offerings, which you can locate via the link provided below.
We're deeply grateful for the generous contributions we've received during this time, which have been of great help in meeting ongoing costs. Please keep checking our website for more online offerings and feel free to contact us. We’d love to hear from you.
Until we meet again,
for the Finger Lakes Chamber Ensemble
Photo credit: Sheryl Sinkow
Beethoven: A Personal Statement
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".
Ludwig van Beethoven (1712–1773)
Sonata No. 30 in E, Op 109
Sonata No. 31 in A-Flat, Op 110
Sonata No. 32 in C Minor, Op 111