As part of her residency with the San Francisco Symphony, violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter helps celebrate the Beethoven 250th birthday year, with chamber recitals on consecutive days, this Sunday and Monday. First it’s three of his sonatas, with her musical partner Lambert Orkis, and then string trios and a quartet, showing the evolution of the composer’s compositional talents.
Two of the sonatas she’ll play are tightly bound together, his fourth and fifth (which is known as the “Spring” sonata: “Opus 23 and 24, once released under the same opus number, which shows that they are like day and night. They really belong together, you can understand ‘Spring’ only if you’ve heard the a-minor sonata. Beethoven wrestles with the form of sonata, and finds a solution in ‘Spring.’ And ‘Spring’ thrives because of the darkness of the previous piece. So I wanted to really bring them so you also can witness the progress and the kind of wrestling Beethoven has always to go through to find solutions.” They’ll also play his ninth sonata, known as the ‘Kreutzer,’ which she says “…In itself, is like a piano-violin concerto.” The following evening she’ll be joined by violinist Ye-Eun Choi, violist Vladimir Babeshko, and cellist Daniel Müller-Schott. There are two of Beethoven’s String Trios, his first, and another which he considered to be among his finest works. “You could see it as a preparation of Beethoven, that’s a rather youngish, it’s opus 9, number 3, a youngish man, he was 28, at the verge of becoming deaf. A preparation for his string quartets.” They’ll also play one of his quartets, Op. 74, with the nickname ‘Harp.’ Mutter will return in June for a performance with the San Francisco Symphony of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto. She says she’s looking forward to the opportunity to “show the violin through different stages of Beethoven’s life, and Beethoven’s development as a composer.”