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Beethoven's early period featured

May 17, 2007|by JULIE E. GREENE

Even as an accomplished writer and composer, Ludwig van Beethoven didn't write any string quartets until his early 30s, feeling he wasn't ready yet for such an endeavor, said Adam Gonzalez, a cellist who has studied Beethoven.

Austrian composer Joseph Haydn had introduced the concept of the string quartet with two violins, a viola and a cello. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart had taken the form to a higher level, Gonzalez said.

So at that time, the 1790s, Beethoven worked on string trios, including String Trio in C minor, Opus 9, No. 3.

The Mariner String Quartet, which includes Gonzalez, will perform the piece Sunday afternoon at the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts in Hagerstown's City Park as part of the Maryland Symphony Orchestra Recital Series.

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"In Opus 9 material, it appears he really developed a voice by this point and it sounds like Beethoven," Gonzalez said.

The last movement of this string trio is very similar to the last movement of Beethoven's first string quartet, String Quartet in F major, Opus 18, No. 1, Gonzalez said.

Sometimes during rehearsal, one of the quartet's members would play the quartet melody rather than the trio piece just to see if the others are paying attention, Gonzalez said.

The quartet had been set to play other selections but plans changed to instead perform previously rehearsed pieces after one of the quartet members, violinist Phanos Dymiotis, died in March as a result of a car accident, Gonzalez said.

In his stead, violinist Paula McCarthy will join the remaining Mariner String Quartet members, who include violinist Nicholas Currie and violist Michael Strauss.

Guest pianist David Kreider, a music professor at McDaniel College, also will join in.




If you go ...



WHAT: Mariner String Quartet in concert

WHEN: 2:30 p.m. Sunday, May 20

WHERE: Bowman Gallery, Washington County Museum of Fine Arts, City Park, Hagerstown

COST: Free

MORE: For more information, call the museum at 301-739-5727.

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