Spoleto Backstage: Beethoven Bonus Round

Jul 31, 2020

Credit South Carolina Public Radio

In this final episode of Spoleto Backstage for 2020, cohosts Geoff Nuttall and Bradley Fuller mark the 250th anniversary of Ludwig van Beethoven’s birth by taking a tour through the German composer’s three stylistic periods — early, middle, and late — with commentary and a listen to representative performances from the past twelve years of the Spoleto Festival chamber music series. After discussing Beethoven’s musical beginnings, Geoff and Bradley hear his Piano Trio Op. 1, No. 3, followed by the second and third movements of his Septet in E-flat major, Op. 20.  The conversation then moves to Beethoven’s middle or “heroic” period, with performances of the haunting second movement of the composer’s “Ghost” Trio and the passionate opening movement of his “Kreutzer” sonata to illustrate this stylistic phase at the start of the Romantic era. A discussion of late-period Beethoven serves to introduce two pieces for string quartet by the composer, both from the final years of his life: the achingly beautiful fifth-movement Cavatina from his String Quartet No. 13 in B-flat major, op. 130, and the monumental Grosse Fuge, Op. 133.

Attending a concert might be off the table right now, but you can relax just where you are as South Carolina Public Radio brings the concert to you with this podcast. Spoleto Backstage offers a curated lineup of phenomenal musical moments from past seasons of Spoleto Festival USA as chosen by violinist and chamber music series artistic director Geoff Nuttall. Geoff joins Bradley Fuller, host and producer of South Carolina Public Radio’s Sonatas & Soundscapes, for insights and fun conversations about how he picked his favorite performances form the past ten years. Geoff and Bradley also hear from some of the fascinating stars of the festival’s chamber music series, learning more about their careers, the music they perform, and a range of amusing behind-the-scenes happenings.

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