Athenaeum hosts Beethoven memorial marathon Monday

By Lonnie Burstein Hewitt
Beginning at 7 p.m. on March 26, the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library at 1008 Wall St., will host a marathon that’s not just another race-to-the-finish. It’s a tour-de-force concert by two gifted musicians performing all 10 of Beethoven’s sonatas for violin and piano on the 185th anniversary of his death. And violinist Victoria Martino and pianist James Lent have been training like athletes for this very special event.
Not that they’re strangers to marathons. Their first experience, in 2006, was a Mozart Marathon (26 sonatas, eight hours) on the composer’s 250th birthday. Four years later, on Schumann’s 200th birthday, they did a Schumann Marathon, and a pair of marathons (on baroque violin and organ) to celebrate the 325th birthday of J.S. Bach.
The Beethoven memorial marathon will run a mere 3-1/2 hours, less than half the playing time of the Mozart, but Martino calls it their most ambitious project yet.  “It’s like climbing Mt. Everest,” she said. “It makes the Mozart seem like a breeze.“
According to Martino, Beethoven is technically, musically, and intellectually more demanding than Mozart. “With Mozart, you’re swept along on some ethereal plane,” she said. “Even after eight hours, we’re so invigorated, we think we could do the whole thing again. But Beethoven expresses the full panoply of human emotions, and there isn’t one note where he doesn’t indicate exactly how he wants it played.”
Martino, who was raised in La Jolla, has had a long and varied career on three continents. She has been playing with Lent, who has a doctorate in performance from Yale, for seven years now, and calls him one of the most sought-after collaborative pianists in Southern California.
Not many musicians, she says, could handle a musical marathon. “It’s really a spiritual experience, a full immersion into the mind of a genius,” she said. “As a performer, I basically try to be completely transparent, and give the composer a chance to communicate directly with the audience.”
Beethoven, a fine violinist as well as a pianist, dedicated the first three sonatas to Antonio Salieri, known to most of us from the film “Amadeus.” Salieri was one of Beethoven’s classical mentors, who included Haydn, and Mozart himself.
“These 10 sonatas are an overview of Beethoven’s development as a composer,” said Martino. “They give you the best of all possible worlds.”
Besides being a Beethoven memorial, the concert is a memorial to Martino’s father, Jim Phelan, her greatest and most personal musical influence, who died last June. It’s also a memorial to several friends Martino has lost in the past few months.
“Working with Beethoven is a constant reminder of the indomitability of the human spirit,” she said. “There was so much suffering in his life, and he put it all into his music. But there’s always hope too, and the last sonata ends with a burst of unconquerable joy.”
Tickets $30-$35 at (858) 454-5872.

Related posts:

  1. Young artists offer concert Sunday at Symphony Hall
  2. Artful Beginnings
  3. Breaking the Sound Barriers: UCSD duo joins Brooklyn’s Sound Sculptor at The Loft
  4. La Jolla Music Society will bring the Vienna Philharmonic to San Diego
  5. Finalists selected in 12th annual Concerto Competition for SD Youth Symphony

Short URL:

Posted by Dave Schwab on Mar 20, 2012. Filed under A & E, Music. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

Leave a Reply

La Jolla Community Calendar


Bottom Buttons 1

Bottom Buttons 2

Bottom Buttons 3

Bottom Buttons 4

Bottom Buttons 5

Bottom Buttons 6

RSS North Coastal News

  • More water storage and renewed calls for conservation July 26, 2014
    As local and state officials heighten their calls for conservation, the San Diego Water Authority this month celebrated the completion of a project that goes a long way toward ensuring water reliability for the region. The $416 million San Vicente Dam Raise project is finished. Raising the height of the dam in Lakeside greatly increases the reservoir’s capac […]
  • California Chiropractic Association elects Del Mar practitioner as president July 25, 2014
    The California Chiropractic Association, the Sacramento-based statewide, nonprofit organization of chiropractic doctors and allied industries, announced that Brian Stenzler, a San Diego and Del Mar-based doctor of chiropractic, was elected to serve as president of CCA. He succeeds Matt Hubbard, also of San Diego, who now serves as Immediate Past President. […]
  • Surf Soccer Club Academy GU9 team tops in division at 2014 Albion Cup July 25, 2014
    The Surf Soccer Club Academy GU9 team took first place in the 2014 Albion Cup (Girls U9 Cup) on July 18-21. They beat Carlsbad United’s top GU9 team in the semi-finals and went on to shut out Strikers FC in the finals, 4-0. Awesome tournament play by the entire team! […]