Happy December birthday to composers Ludwig von Beethoven, Hector Berlioz and Joseph Jongen. Flutist and Taos Chamber Music Group artistic director Nancy Laupheimer, who also has a birthday in December, has programmed the musical organization’s December 14 and 15 concerts at the Harwood Museum of Art in Taos as a celebration of all four birthdays.
Since it’s the 90th anniversary of the museum, Taos Chamber Music Group’s performance is titled “Four Birthdays and an Anniversary.”
Playing music by Beethoven, Berlioz and Jongen will be New York pianist Gleb Ivanov.
Ivanov will perform with TCMG’s regulars Laupheimer, cellist Sally Guenther and violinist LP How.
“I can’t think of a better birthday gift than to have someone of Gleb’s soulful musicianship and sparkling technique joining TCMG for these concerts, along with some of my favorite colleagues, Sally Guenther and LP How,” said Laupheimer.
Ivanov is the piano teacher of Laupheimer’s sister and an award-winning pianist. Originally from Moscow, he graduated from the Moscow Conservatory. Among his awards are first prizes at International Classical Legacy Competitions, the prize for Best Performance of a Beethoven Sonata at the First Vladimir Horowitz Competition and the Michaels Award of Young Concert Artists.
Ivanov has appeared as a soloist with the Nizhny Novgorod Philharmonic, the Moscow State Orchestra and the Kremlin Orchestra. He performs frequently as concerto soloist around the United States.
Laupheimer and Ivanov play Jongen’s Flute Sonata, which was written the year the Harwood Museum of Art was founded in 1923.
“I’ve played a few of Jongen’s pieces before, including a flute and harp piece with Taos Chamber Music Group, but not the Flute Sonata,” explained Laupheimer. “I have a recording of the sonata and it’s beautiful. I couldn’t find the sheet music so I put out a call on Facebook. Somebody posted a link to a publisher in England, which is where I found the sheet music.”
In an interesting coincidence, Laupheimer discovered that Jongen was born on the day of her birthday and died the year she was born. Jongen, an organist and composer, was born in Belgium on December 14, 1873 and died in 1953. He spent 16 years studying at the Royal Conservatory of Liège. During World War I Jongen lived and worked in England. After the war, he returned to Belgium and became a professor at the Royal Conservatoire in Brussels.
Berlioz’s instrumental interlude Trio of the Young Ishmaelites from the oratorio L’enfance du Christ is the concert’s tip of the hat to the holiday season. L’enfance du Christ (The Childhood of Christ) is an oratorio based on the Holy Family’s flight into Egypt. The first section depicts King Herod ordering the massacre of all newborn children in Judea. In the middle section the Holy Family sets out for Egypt to avoid the slaughter. The final section portrays their arrival in Egypt where they are given refuge by a family of Ishmaelites.
Beethoven’s Archduke piano trio, which was dedicated to Archduke Rudolph of Austria, completes the program. The trio was written between the summer of 1810 and the spring of 1811.
“The Archduke piano trio is considered not only to be the masterpiece of Beethoven’s 12 piano trios but the greatest composition for this combination (piano, violin, cello) ever written,” said Laupheimer.