All-Beethoven Program “Beethoven and the Dawn of Romanticism” The Artist as Prophet and Hero Tracks His Steps From Classicist to Exemplar of the Romantic Tradition

Photographs of the Performing Musicians

“In the art and music of Romanticism—whether Turner’s misty sea and landscapes, Delacroix’s violent scenes, or Beethoven’s stormy musical mood swings—all of nature is a mirror of the turmoil, longing, passion and sorrows that take place in the bosom of the artist,” says Yehuda Hanani, artistic director of Close Encounters With Music. “The deaf composer forced to listen inwardly in isolation, overcoming the blows of fate and turning adversity into triumph have made Beethoven an ideal model for the Romantic artist.”

The May 17 Close Encounters concert follows Beethoven, perhaps the most lionized of Western artists—in his pathway from disciple of Haydn, from whom he inherited his audacity and humor, to prophet and hero of the Romantic Movement. His music stands as a glorious bridge between two eras—Classical and Romantic—and the selected works cover a good distance of this journey.

Starting as a young artist working within the forms of his day, Beethoven’s transitional moment comes with the rarely heard String quintet Opus 29 (poking fun at Rossini, among other antics) as it points the way to his middle period. The sonata for piano and violin, known as the Kreutzer, Opus 47, further breaks with convention in a powerful duet of torrid emotion. The piece was dedicated to violin virtuoso Rudolphe Kreutzer who deemed it unplayable and in fact never performed it. The Archduke Trio, Opus 97 represents the pinnacle of his writing in that genre, perhaps in this late period.

Distinguished performers for this program—which reveals Beethoven as both bridge and boundary breaker—are Yehonatan Berick and Joana Genova, violin; Amadi Azikiwe and Ariel Rudiakov, viola; Yehuda Hanani, cello; and Jeffrey Swann, piano.

Ticket Information for “Beethoven and the Dawn of Romanticism”
Tickets, $45 (Orchestra and Mezzanine) and $25 (Balcony), are available at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center box office, 413.528.0100; or through Close Encounters With Music at 800-843-0778/

Performances are supported in part by a grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

Close Encounters With Music (CEWM) stands at the intersection of music, art and the vast richness of Western culture. Entertaining, erudite and lively commentary from founder and Artistic Director Yehuda Hanani puts the composers and their times in perspective to enrich the concert experience. Since the inception of its Commissioning Project in 2001, CEWM has worked with the most distinguished composers of our time—Paul Schoenfield, Osvaldo Golijov, Lera Auerbach, Kenji Bunch, and John Musto, among others—to create important new works that have already taken their place in the chamber music canon and on CD. A core of brilliant performers includes pianists James Tocco, Adam Neiman, Walter Ponce and Jeffrey Swann; violinists Shmuel Ashkenasi, Yehonatan Berick, Vadim Gluzman and Toby Appel; harpsichordist Lionel Party; clarinetists Alexander Fiterstein, Charles Neidich; vocalists Dawn Upshaw, Amy Burton, Jennifer Aylmer, Robert White, Lucille Beer and William Sharp; the Vermeer, Amernet, Muir, Manhattan, Avalon, Hugo Wolf quartets, and Cuarteto Latinoamericano; and guitarist Eliot Fisk. Choreographer David Parsons and actors Richard Chamberlain, Jane Alexander and Sigourney Weaver have also appeared as guests, weaving narration and dance into the fabric of the programs.

Close Encounters With Music concerts are broadcast on WMHT-FM, and weekly broadcasts of “Classical Music According to Yehuda” are broadcast on WAMC Northeast Radio and at

For more information about Close Encounters with Music and its 2013–2014 concert schedule, visit