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Karen Tanaka

Publisher: Chester Music

At the grave of Beethoven (1999),
Commissioned by the Arts Council of England
Publisher
Chester Music Ltd
Category
Works for 2-6 Players
Year Composed
1999
Duration
9 Minutes
Orchestration
Availability


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Programme Note
Karen Tanaka At the grave of Beethoven (1999),
'At the grave of Beethoven' was commissioned by the Brodsky Quartet, on the occasion of the bicentenary anniversary of Beethoven's opus 18. The title suggests admiration and a tribute towards Beethoven, and this work is based on Beethoven's string quartet opus 18 no.3.

Opus 18 no.3 is probably the most gentle and lyrical work in the set. I feel the pure spirit and ardent hope of young Beethoven in it. The first movement of 'At the grave of Beethoven' was inspired by the first four bars of opus 18 no.3. These four bars were developed and interpreted in a contemporary manner, reflecting the tension and anxiety of our life today. The second movement is made by chains of modulations. When I was writing this movement in the spring of 1999, the news from Kosovo was reported on TV every day. I was shocked and horrified by this civil war, and it influenced my writing unconsciously. Along with each modulation, I had images that lotus flowers grow and bloom, in the hope of serenity and peace.

© Karen Tanaka

  • Ensemble
    Brodsky Quartet
    Vanguard Classics:
Performances
Date
Title
  • 09 JAN 2009
    Center Stage Theater, Santa Barbara, California, USA
    Santa Barbara Dance Theatre
    Tonia Shimin, choreographer

    Other Dates:
    10,11 January - Center Stage Theater, Santa Barbara, California, USA
  • 28 MAY 2008
    Cadogan Hall, London
    Brodsky Quartet
  • 11 JAN 2008
    Hatlen Theatre, University of California, Santa Barbara, USA
    Santa Barbara Dance Theatre

    Other Dates:
    12,13 January - Hatlen Theatre, University of California, Santa Barbara, USA
  • 15 NOV 2006
    Cambridge Music Festival
    West Road Concert Hall, Cambridge
    Brodsky Quartet
  • 25 MAR 2005
    University of Michigan School of Music
    St Petersburg Quartet
  • 11 MAY 2003
    Littleton, Massachusetts
    The Walden Chamber Players
  • 08 OCT 2001
    Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland
    Brodsky Quartet

    Other Dates:
    10,14 October - Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland

Reviews
Karen Tanaka's At the grave of Beethoven, played immediately next to the work by which it was inspired was a surprise…the 'pure spirit and ardent hope' of the young Ludwig inspired an eloquent lyrical and quite tonal tribute, with murmurous accompaniments and beautiful, sad, unfolding textures.
Laurence Hughes, The Independent,3/13/2000
Karen Tanaka's At the grave of Beethoven …turn[ed] what she herself called 'probably the most gentle and lyrical work in the set' into a tense expression of doubt and foreboding…It was like trying to cling to Beethoven while being stuck in a leaky lifeboat on a stormy sea.
Adam Sweeting, The Guardian,3/10/2000
Karen Tanaka, who’s music is normally very avant-garde, produced some incredibly beautiful, instant knock out stuff.
Paul Cassidy, Classic CD,3/1/2000
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