Opening our Musical Friendships chamber music concert on Sunday, November 10, 3:00 pm at Zion Lutheran Church will be:

Serenade for Flute, Violin and Viola, Op. 25           

Ludwig van Beethoven

Madeline Oglesby, flute

Hana Velde, violin • Ann Duchow, viola

Please enjoy the following program notes about this piece:

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) arrived in Vienna in 1792, the year after Mozart’s death. He began his studies with the notable composer Joseph Haydn, but finding his temperament at odds with the venerated Master, Beethoven sought out instruction with Antonio Salieri and Johann Albrechtsberger; but these teachers lasted a short time, as well. He then set out on his own. Increasingly, he discovered that his compositions had an audience. He composed piano sonatas and large ensemble works that were quickly accepted for publication, but sales were modest at first, and like any aspiring young composer, he wrote pieces for occasions for small groups of players and for various combinations of instruments to earn living expenses.

The bulk of his compositions during his early Viennese period focused on works for piano and the usual instrument groupings, but he did compose for non-traditional combinations. The Serenade for Flute, Violin and Viola, Op 25 is one such work, unusual in that the piece has no bass line. The piece was offered for publication in 1801 and was an immediate success. It is not known whether the piece was written for a specific group or whether it was composed for general consumption. Whatever the case may be, the Serenade proved so popular that Beethoven authorized another composer, Franz X. Kleinheinz, to arrange the score for piano and flute/violin, and it was offered in 1803 as Opus 41.

The Serenade for Flute, Violin, and Viola in D major, Op 25, was written according to the standards established by Mozart in his great serenades with the full compliment of movements, but with pared down instrumentation. Serenades in Beethoven’s time were not necessary works for lovers, but rather pieces for particular occasions, designed to entertain, and often performed outdoors. Such “Gebrauchsmusik” (music for a purpose or “use-music”) does not seek to find deeper meaning in life or explore the soul of a nation, but does offer to entertain and audience for an evening in the park or at an afternoon social gathering. As one observer of this Serenade explained

The six movements find the young Beethoven at his most carefree and effervescent: even the Andante and variations (which would become a conduit for profound thoughts later in his career) is as light as air and bubbling with melody and witty repartee. Anyone who only knows Beethoven from the symphonies, sonatas and concertos has a very pleasant surprise in store

The Serenade is a most delightful breath of fresh air from the mighty composer of later years. ~Program notes by William Driver

Musical Friendships – Serenade for Flute, Violin, & Viola – Beethoven