Birdfoot Chamber Music Festival - Gratitude: Beethoven

Sunday, May 16, 2021 at 2:30pm

New Orleans, LA 70112

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Backstage with the Borromeo String Quartet

Ludwig van Beethoven: String Quartet in A minor Op. 132

III. "Heiliger Dankgesang eines Genesenen an die Gottheit, in der Lydischen Tonart" (Holy song of thanksgiving to God for recovery from an illness, in the lydian mode).

In addition to his well known hearing loss, Beethoven suffered from episodes of illness and poor health his entire life—his letters are full of references to discomfort and days spent recovering from digestive ailments. It was in early summer of 1825, while recovering from a particularly long and painful illness that Beethoven came back to a string quartet he had started some months earlier, and wrote one of his most intimate and transcendent musical utterances: the Heiliger Dankgesang, fully translated as "Holy song of thanksgiving to God on recovery from an illness in the Lydian Mode." This extraordinary song of thanksgiving is unlike anything else Beethoven wrote: hymn-like passages alternate with outbursts of joyful energy—marked "feeling new strength." The sections respectively grow both more vulnerable and more ecstatic as the movement unfolds.

Join Birdfoot and the Borromeo String Quartet to discover the special resonance of the Lydian mode and explore this sublime expression of musical gratitude.

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