Late Great Works

Styles change. Stylistic progression over an artistic lifetime is often a complex, even convoluted journey, a refashioning of texture, rhetoric and form to suit the expressive concerns of a personal historical moment. In the drama of creation there seems to be a special place for works which may be considered “late” – works that often sum up, transcend, or otherwise branch out and explore. The quintessential late period works are, of course, those of Beethoven: visionary, liberated, unruly and sometimes almost terrifyingly revelatory. Lateness takes on many a guise, representing a stepping outside of chronological time for people such as Yeats, Rilke, and Plath; Rembrandt, Monet, and Klee; Beethoven, Schubert, and Bartók. These programs bring together late works from composers of a variety of time periods and with varying personalities. The intention is to ask of these collections of works what commonality is to be found in the intensity of creative thought as the end of life grows near.

Each program will be prefaced by a brief talk addressing the significance of late style as reflected in its particular group of works. Additionally, there will be an accompanying booklet with notes on the individual pieces and specially written commentary by people in a wide variety of disciplines on the truths and myths of late style.

Program I

Mozart Quartet in B-flat Major, K589
Carter Piano Quintet
(pianist Thomas Sauer)
Bach Contrapunctus XVIII (unfinished) from
The Art of Fugue
Bartók Quartet No. 6

Program II

Mendelssohn Quartet in f minor, Op. 80
Janácek Quartet No. 2 (“Intimate Letters”)
Brahms Clarinet Quintet in b minor, Op. 115 (clarinetist Todd Palmer)

Program III

Beethoven Quartet in E-flat Major, Op. 127
Schubert Cello Quintet in C Major, D956
(cellist Michael Kannen)