The Inner Fabric of Beethoven
IT IS ONE THING to hear his music. It is another to see Beethoven himself on stage with the musicians as he divulges his inner struggles—in particular, his plight with women. In a unique musical-theatre presentation, this is exactly what Clarence Felder does to perfection in the Piccolo Spoleto production of Beethoven, His Women, and His Music.
From a distance, it seems that great composers sit down and write extraordinary music. When you get closer, though, you see that in many cases the music seeps, and in some case pours, out of them—out of their personal lives.
In Beethoven’s case, some of the most fiercely passionate and exquisitely tender music ever written can be traced to a sensitive, conflicted inner life in which Beethoven repeatedly made a mess of human dealings, wrestled with his contradictory passion for women, and at age 26 began to suffer what would become complete deafness—a composer’s ultimate nightmare. Across this emotional spectrum, and no doubt due to it, spanned the likes of his Moonlight Sonata, Archduke Trio, and Ninth Symphony—to name just three of his masterpieces.
Here’s an interview I did with Clarence Felder and CMC cellist Timothy O’Malley as they talked about Beethoven, his women, his music, and their upcoming program about all three.
This joint production of Chamber Music Charleston and Actors’ Theatre of South Carolina is being presented for the second year in a row at Piccolo Spoleto. It was was conceived by Chris Weatherhead and Sandra Nikolajevs and also features violinist Megan Allison and pianist Irina Pevzner.
Beethoven, His Women, and His Music
May 29 and May 30 • 8:00 PM
Circular Congregational Church
150 Meeting Street