Beethoven’s best on Super Sunday


Now that the air has gone out (ouch!) of the Patriots’ run for a fifth NFL championship, here’s a cool way for New England sports fans to soothe their souls on Super Sunday, February 7. At 4:00 p.m., two and a half hours before kickoff, three of Ludwig van Beethoven’s finest plays will be scored — er, finest scores will be played at Sweeney Concert Hall, Sage Hall, Smith College, when Music In Deerfield (soon to be known as Valley Classical Concerts) joins the Smith College Music Department in presenting one of America’s leading chamber music ensembles, the Miró String Quartet. The concert will be preceded at 3:00 by “Concert Conversations,” featuring members of the Miró in conversation with moi, as well as fielding questions from the audience. Click here for info and tix.

Composed in 1806, Beethoven’s three “Razumovsky” Quartets, Op. 59,  are masterworks of what is known in musicological geek-speak as Beethoven’s “middle period,” when he also composed such genre-defining works as the “Eroica,” Fifth and “Pastoral” Symphonies, the “Emperor” Concerto, the “Kreutzer” and “Appassionata” Sonatas and the “Archduke” Trio. One could even analogize these works’ place in Beethoven’s output to that of such great “middle period” Beatles albums as “Rubber Soul”and “Revolver” — not as ingenuous as “With the Beatles” or the Op. 18 Quartets, or as visionary as “Sgt. Pepper” or the last Quartets, but j-u-s-t right. What do you think?

The Quartets’ nickname comes from the music-loving Russian ambassador to Vienna, Count Andrei Razumovsky, who commissioned the works, and in whose honor Beethoven included Russian themes in the first two of the three. This is a program both to astound a chamber music newbie as well as to delight the most discerning chamber music connoisseur — especially in the hands of the Miró Quartet, an absolutely fabulous ensemble which plays with a life-and-death intensity. Now, I can’t guarantee that you’ll get to your TV screen by kickoff. But hey, it’s only Cam vs. Peyton, so who gives a damn? Come on over and party! Beside, we’ve got by far the cooler musical act.

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