Childs and Beethoven

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The Isidore String Quartet will present a program of Haydn, Childs, and Beethoven at the Matsqui Centennial Auditorium on Thursday, April 18, at 7:30 p.m.

Two of the names in the program are very familiar to listeners of classical music, the middle one less so.

Billy Childs is an American pianist, composer, and conductor who has made a name for himself in both the jazz and classical worlds. The Grammy Award he won two months ago is only one of several he has won or been nominated for in several different categories.

Isidore will play a deeply personal quartet Childs wrote titled Awakening. He was in a neighbouring state when his wife was stricken with a pulmonary embolism and rushed to emergency care. The first movement, Wake Up Call, expresses his shock on receiving the call at night in his hotel room. The second movement, The White Room, conveys the powerlessness and urgency he felt at her bedside in the hospital. The third movement, Song of Healing, is an ode to recovery.

As with the Haydn quartet which will open the program, this piece has a strong connection to the Beethoven String Quartet No. 15, which will take up the entire second half of the concert.

Beethoven’s initial notes on this quartet reflected the typical four-movement structure as set down by Haydn in his Opus 20 quartets. While working on it, he fell seriously ill in the spring of 1825 with a dangerous and very painful intestinal condition. Given the state of the medical profession of the time, it was no sure thing that he would recover. But recover he did.

This experience affected the composer deeply. As he resumed work on his 15th string quartet, he added a fifth movement known popularly as Heiliger Dankgesang between the second and third movements. In fact, the name he gave this movement was much longer. It translates to Holy song of thanksgiving from a convalescent to the Deity, in the Lydian mode. There are many who consider this the most transcendent music Beethoven ever wrote.

The Isidore String Quartet has curated a marvelous program, one which will resonate with a serious student of music, and which will, at the same time, speak to the very human emotions and experiences we all understand.

Tickets to this program are available at at $32 for adults/seniors and $20 for students. For more information, call 604-289-3377.

John Wiebe - President

The Valley Concert Society