Beginnings and Endings

Observing Beethoven’s birthday at the end of an era

Each year about this time BCMS has the privilege of playing on or about the actual date of Beethoven’s birth. It always falls near the end of the year among the great religious observances of the loss of light and life that have sustained us thus far. It is also a time of year that we anticipate and celebrate the great rebirth of the light that heralds the coming of spring and the return of the world to life.

This time is different. We have already faced the Millennium. This year we’ve had the winds, the floods, the blackout, and this fall, even an earthquake in Cambridge. However, before the week is out, this time we may well wonder both about the projected Mayan Apocalypse on December 21st, and the projected fiscal cliff to follow.

Somehow this program helps me put it all into a musical perspective with two early works of Beethoven (the Clarinet Trio and the “Spring” Sonata) heralding better things to come, followed by the transcendent mystical vision of Messiaen of what to look forward to should it all end next week!

BCMS Founding Artistic Director and cellist, Ronald Thomas, will share his amazing insight and love for the Messiaen Quatuor pour la fin du temps in a free pre-concert talk in the Kresge Little Theater at 3pm. This semester we were privileged and grateful to have him spend a Saturday afternoon coaching an MIT Chamber Music Society ensemble on the work.

We hope these performances will inspire your best thoughts and feelings for this season, and that you will be back to celebrate the re-birth of the sun in our Musical Helios concert, also at MIT’s Kresge Auditorium, on Saturday, January 19th at 4pm. That performance will be preceded by an exciting discussion of the most recent work on the program, Stephen Hartke’s The King of the Sun.



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