Sprouts, Complexity, and Transcendence

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Beethoven’s influence cannot be measured.  This week on Hammered! we’re featuring his impact on different musical forms, the revolutionary spirit in music, and his transcendent late works.

Bagatelles—Monday, November 26 explores the evolution of the bagatelle, a short lighthearted piece typically written for the piano. We begin with the delightful and underappreciated Seven Bagatelles, Op. 33 by Beethoven, followed by Bartok’s unique 14 Bagatelles, Op. 6, and then the great American composer-theorist George Perle’s witty Nine Bagatelles (composed in 1999).

Inspirations—Tuesday, November 27 takes a look at works inspired by Beethoven symphonies including Ives’s "The Alcotts" from the Concord Sonata (which quotes Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony) and Corigliano’s Fantasia on an Ostinato (quoting Beethoven’s Seventh).

Variations—Wednesday, November 28 presents Beethoven’s 32 Variations in C minor alongside more recent takes on the form—with variations by Copland, Webern, Berio, and selections from Frederic Rzewski’s monumental The People United Will Never Be Defeated!. 

Groundbreaking Audacity—Thursday, November 29 explores pioneering and daring works by the late Milton Babbitt (his Reflections for piano and synthesized tape), Mario Davidovsky (Synchronisms No. 6 for piano and tape), John Cage (Sonatas and Interludes for prepared piano), Samuel Adler (Canto VIII), Crumb (Music for a Summer Evening), and Beethoven (the fourth movement of the "Hammerklavier" Sonata, Op. 106).

Late Works—Friday, November 30

On this last day of Beethoven Awareness Month we explore composer’s “late works.” We hear Liszt’s spiritual Les jeux d'eaux a la Villa d'Este, Elliot Carter’s strikingly virtuosic Two Thoughts About The Piano (2006), Beethoven’s transcendent Sonata in A-flat, Op. 110, and Leonard Bernstein’s hauntingly beautiful Thirteen Anniversaries.