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Take 2: Beethoven's Complete Works for Cello with Piano

April 2, 2013
Logan Buckley

Oberlin, Ohio — In two concerts this April and May, Oberlin Professor of Piano Peter Takács and guest cellist Robert deMaine will present Beethoven’s complete works for cello and piano, which span his compositional life. The two will perform the same program on modern instruments that Professor David Breitman (fortepiano) and guest Jaap ter Linden (cello) played on period instruments in February. Audiences can experience the evolution not only of Beethoven’s musical style but also of the instruments themselves. The first concert will be Sunday, April 14 at 4:30 and the second will be Sunday, May 5 at 4:30. Both performances will take place in Kulas Recital Hall at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. Admission is free and open to the public.

While Breitman and ter Linden worked chronologically through the material in order to showcase the development of the instruments involved, Takács and deMaine’s approach will be based on contrasts and key relationships between the pieces. Of the material, Takács says, “The amazing thing is how different the pieces are”—despite being very similar formally, for example, the two sonatas that make up Beethoven’s Op. 5 are a study in contrasts: No. 1 in F Major is sunny and bright, while No. 2 in G Minor is darker, stormy and Romantic.

Compared to the sonatas in Op. 5, the later material from Op. 102 is more compact and thematically interconnected—“there is an organic integration of the two instruments where themes are intertwined and exchanged seamlessly,” Takács says of the Sonata in C Major, Op. 102, No. 1. Of the last piece on the program, he says, “The concluding work of the cycle, the Sonata in D major, Op. 102 No. 2, is notable for its deeply expressive slow movement, as well as for the fugal finale, which combines Baroque counterpoint with Beethoven's characteristically thorny but exciting part writing." Takács also gives special emphasis to the Sonata in A Major, Op. 69. The sonata begins uniquely with a theme for unaccompanied cello, and Takács believes it “in many ways the most beloved” of the pieces on the program.

Peter Takács, called “a marvelous pianist” by the New York Times, began studying music in his hometown of Bucuresti, Romania, before emigrating to France at 14 in order to study at the Conservatoire National de Paris. His awards include First Prize in the William Kapell International Competition and a Solo Recitalist Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as performing as a guest soloist with American and international orchestras. In 2011, he recorded and released the complete cycle of Beethoven’s piano sonatas. Of the effort, allmusic.com wrote, “Takács's playing is clean, his expression subtle, his rhythms supple, his power unrivaled; furthermore, his understanding of Beethoven's methods and expressions is so profound that this set warrants the highest honors.”

Robert deMaine, since 2002 the principal cellist of the Detroit Philharmonic and recently named principal cellist of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, has performed on stages including Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center in New York, the Vienna Konzerthaus, Moscow’s Tchaikovsky Hall, and the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires. Hailed by the New York Times as “an artist who makes one hang on every note,” he has garnered a reputation as one of the most talented and versatile cellists of his generation, performing as a soloist, orchestral principal, chamber musician, and recording artist to widespread acclaim.

The recitals in April and May are the latest in a series of collaborations between Takács and deMaine, which Takács describes as “a very fortunate and great experience for both of us.” The two musicians plan to continue their collaboration in both performance and recording moving forward. 

 

Fact Sheet

The Complete works of Beethoven for Cello and Piano
Part I:  Sunday, April 14, 4:30 p.m.
Part II: Sunday, May 5 at 4:30 p.m.
Peter Takács, piano
Robert deMaine, cello

Kulas Recital Hall
Oberlin Conservatory of Music
77 West College St.
Oberlin, Ohio 44074

Free; no tickets are required

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