Rutherford Chamber Consort presents three back-to-back spring concerts

Published 11:52 am Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The Rutherford Chamber Consort will present its spring concerts Friday, May 26, 7 p.m. at Fairfield Mountains Chapel, Lake Lure; Saturday, May 27, 7 p.m. at the Chapel of the Prodigal, Montreat College, Black Mountain; and Sunday, May 28, at 4 p.m. at Biltmore United Methodist Church, Asheville. The Consort is a professional ensemble dedicated to bringing great chamber music to the Carolinas. The program is entirely Beethoven, celebrating several gems from the master’s pen.

The opening work will “Piano Trio, op. 70, No. 1 in D major,” subtitled the “Ghost,” a name given the piece by Beethoven’s student, Carl Czreny. The slow movement’s eerie atmosphere reminded Czerny of the ghost of Hamlet’s father. Beethoven was in fact sketching out ideas for an opera based on Shakespeare’s Macbeth. The themes of the trio’s “Largo” were meant for a scene of the three witches. The sweeping and exuberant grandeur of the two outer movements stand in stark contrast to the intense black hole of the middle movement. The trio was written at the height of Beethoven’s heroic middle period, composed soon after the completion of the Symphonies No. 5 and 6.

The second piece on the concert is “Piano Sonata No. 21 in C major, op. 53,” known as the “Waldstein.” The work is dedicated to Count Waldstein, who years earlier had helped the young Beethoven come to Vienna to study with Haydn. In 1803 Beethoven had taken delivery of a new piano from Erard with a number of new features: an additional half-octave range F’-C””, pedals rather than knee levers to raise the dampers, and increased sonority in the bass. The “Waldstein” is the first sonata to have pedal markings, and they are more frequent and rapid than possible with knee levers.

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The work is in two movements. The first is a pleasant, yet roaring “Allegro con brio.” The second opens with a calm “Adagio” leading into the grand sonority of the “Rondo L’Aurora” (The Dawn).

The final work on the Consort’s program is the “String Quintet in C major, op. 29.” It is Beethoven’s only original composition in this genre and comes from the final phase of his first period. The expansiveness and harmonic breadth of the opening movement and explosive storm of the final movement clearly point towards the 5th and 6th symphonies.

The featured musicians in these concerts are the Consort’s Artistic Director and violinist Sharon Lawrence; Susan Blumberg, violin; Simon Ertz, viola; Kara Poorbaugh, viola; Brenda Leonard, cello; and Christopher Tavernier, piano. These musicians come from throughout the Carolinas and have a great passion and love for chamber music. All concerts are free and open to the public, with donations gratefully accepted. For more information about the ensemble, please visit or call 828-245-3282.

Submitted by Steve Wong