Thursday December 29, 2022
7:00 PM PST
Benaroya Hall, Seattle
Beethoven’s Archduke Trio
Ludwig van Beethoven’s magnificent and monumental “Archduke” Trio will be presented alongside songs by Mozart and Schubert, as well as the deeply beautiful “Be Still and Know” for piano trio by 2021 Sphinx Medal of Excellence winner Dr. Carlos Simon. Featuring vocalist Martin Bakari, 2018 George London Competition award winner.
Martin Bakari is a “vocally charismatic… golden tenor.”
— Opera News
Carlos Simon (b. 1986):
“be still and know” for piano trio
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791):
Abendempfindung “Evening Thoughts” (K. 523)
Zufriedenheit “Contentment” (K. 473)
Franz Schubert (1979-1828):
Du bist die Ruh “You are Repose” (D. 776)
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827):
Adelaide, op. 46
Ludwig van Beethoven:
Trio in B-flat, op. 97
Andante cantabile, ma però con moto
“Tenor Martin Bakari is now permanently pinned to my map.
— The Washington Post
Notes on the Program
By Byron Schenkman
Some of the greatest music has come out of composers’ struggles with the challenges of life and the need to connect with something beyond those challenges. The music on this program explores various ways of making those connections. Carlos Simon wrote that his piano trio “be still and know” was inspired by these words from a 2011 interview with Oprah Winfrey:
“I have felt the presence of God my whole life. Even when I didn’t have a name for it, I could feel the voice bigger than myself speaking to me, and all of us have that same voice. Be still and know it. You can acknowledge it or not. You can worship it or not. You can praise it, you can ignore it, or you can know it. Know it. It’s always there speaking to you and waiting for you to hear it in every move, in every decision.”
Songs on our program by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Franz Schubert, and Ludwig van Beethoven explore various poets’ quests for meaning and connection in life, tranquility, joy, and love.
In 1802 Beethoven wrote of his own spiritual crisis in a famous letter to his brothers now known as the Heiligenstadt Testament. In it he described the shame, isolation, suicidal thoughts, and despair he experienced as a result of his hearing loss. He went on to write “Divine One, You look into my innermost soul, You know it, You know that love of humanity and a desire to do good live therein. Oh people, when someday you read these words, reflect on the wrongs you have done me and let the unfortunate one be comforted and find one of their kind who despite all natural obstacles did all in their power to be accepted among worthy artists and people.”
Beethoven composed a whole series of transcendently beautiful works in the years following the writing of the Heiligenstadt Testament. The monumental “Archduke Trio” was the last work Beethoven played in public before loss of hearing brought his performing career to an end. In spite of the challenges Beethoven was undoubtedly facing this is a work of supreme triumph and joy.