Beethoven string cycle


We just finished attending all six concerts of Beethoven’s string quartets, performed by the Fry Street Quartet. Their performances were truly splendid: very charged and aggressive, but also tightly coordinated. I have recordings of some top quartets performing these pieces, but found myself enjoying the Fry’s interpretations more — just more passion in them.

Along with attending these concerts, I have been showing up when I can to the course being offered on campus on Beethoven, which has been very illuminating. And, in conjunction with the performance of the cycle, Robert Winter (well-known Beethoven expert, visiting from UCLA) has provided several lectures and pre-concert talks. So my head, ears, and heart have been absolutely stuffed with Beethoven. I feel like I ate too much at Thanksgiving: pleasingly sluggish and sated.

My only bit of outrage about the whole affair is how little the University has made of this extraordinary event. To have the whole cycle performed is fairly rare; at a school like USU, in a small town like Logan, practically unheard of. And, on top of that, a whole course centered on the cycle, with a very distinguished guest lecturer of international renown! Most of the nights were sold out. But so far as I know, not one administrator from the dean on up attended a single concert, or has publically made hay over the event. I can understand someone not liking Beethoven. (Well, no, I can’t, but I am abstractly familiar with the possibility.) But to not acknowledge the importance of the event, and to pass over it in utter silence, seems to me an egregious intellectual failing on the part of educational leaders. Harrumph!

I don’t wish to end on a sour note. This has been a powerful couple of weeks I will remember my whole life. I am grateful to the people who supplied money and made the whole thing happen, even if they didn’t wish to take part in it themselves.

About Huenemann

Curious about the ways humans use their minds and hearts to distract themselves from the meaninglessness of life.
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