Hear how music history rolled out: Cellist, pianist play Beethoven cycle
By Celia R. Baker
Music history's march from Classicism to Romanticism followed the life story of one man: Ludwig van Beethoven. The whole journey – from innocent exuberance to heroic passion to profound introspection – unfolds in microcosm this week in Salt Lake City: English cellist Colin Carr will perform all of Beethoven's works for cello and piano with American pianist Tom Sauer during two concerts at Libby Gardner Concert Hall.
Carr, 50, is best – known in Utah for his three appearances here with the Golub–Kaplan–Carr trio, with whom he toured and recorded for more than two decades.
After 20 years of playing trios, Carr was ready for new challenges. Performing Beethoven's entire oeuvre for cello and piano, spread over two concerts, has proven to be "simply the best chamber music project that a cellist could ever wish to do," he said.
Amy Leung, director of the Virtuoso Series, studied cello with Carr at New York's Eastman School of Music and remembers him as "a phenomenal musician of the highest order." To Leung, the Beethoven sonatas are the mainstay of classical cello repertoire. She's thrilled that an agreement between her series and the Chamber Music Society of Salt Lake City is making it possible for Carr to give two concerts here – enough time to play all of them.
Audiences at both concerts will hear every note Beethoven wrote for cello and piano, but could trace the trajectory of Beethoven's musical development by attending either one, Carr said. Each evening includes music from the composer's early, middle and late periods, allowing listeners to make comparisons.
Although Carr has played Beethoven's cello sonatas and themes – and – variations for much of his life, juxtaposing them in this way brought fresh insights.
"When I hear all these pieces together, I see such stark contrasts that I'd never been aware of. It's fascinating," he said.
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