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.