In their 5BMF debut, new music piano trio LONGLEASH marks the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth with a program that features two of the composer’s celebrated trios alongside contemporary responses by John Zorn and Reiko Füting (World Premiere, co-commissioned by 5BMF and Longleash.) Engaging equally with Beethoven’s music and mythology, Beethoven Reflections offers an opportunity to take stock of our current artistic, cultural, and political moment, through a consideration of Beethoven as an evolving cultural symbol, and an examination of popular narratives about the composer: genius, heroism, disability, triumph, and struggle.
In 1970, celebrations of Beethoven’s bicentennial were heavily shaped by the political turmoil, cultural upheaval, and tragic injustices of the time. Commissioned responses from that year by composers such as Mauricio Kagel and Karlheinz Stockhausen illustrated the weight of Beethoven’s cultural associations. For some, Beethoven signified bourgeois authority, oppressive conservatism, and regressive cultural constructions; for others, he represented a revolutionary spirit and a hope for a truly free society. While popular renderings of Beethoven reflected the values of the age that produced them, the lived narratives embedded within his music continue to speak to audiences and artists in different ways. In this new program, Longleash seeks to further explore the question of what it means to celebrate Beethoven in an equally tempestuous moment in time.
LONGLEASH (Pala Garcia, violin; John Popham, cello; Renate Rohlfing, piano) is an ensemble with a traditional instrumentation and a progressive identity. The “expert young trio” (Strad Magazine) takes its name from Operation Long Leash, a recently-declassified CIA operation promoting the work of American avant-garde artists in Europe during the Cold War. “Fearlessly accomplished” (Arts Desk UK), Longleash has quickly earned a reputation in the US and abroad for innovative programming, artistic excellence and new music advocacy.
PALA GARCIA › violin
JOHN POPHAM › cello
RENATE ROHLFING › piano
CHES SMITH › percussion (Jan. 12 only)
LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN › Piano Trio in C minor, Op. 1 No. 3
BEETHOVEN › Piano Trio in D major, Op. 70 No. 1, “Ghost”
JOHN ZORN › Ghosts
REIKO FÜTING › free — whereof — wherefore*
*World Premiere, Co-commissioned by 5BMF and Longleash