Beethoven Plus!

The Divine Spark by Ian Hill-Smith

Sixth Concert: 10th October 2020 11am Emmanuel Church, Didsbury.

Click here to buy tickets (available from 21st Sept)


The Pleyel Ensemble are delighted to announce that following the great success of our Mozart Plus! and Haydn Plus! series which ran from June 2013 to June 2019 we present our latest project; Beethoven Plus! This will feature Beethoven’s complete chamber works with piano including the violin sonatas, cello sonatas, trios, piano quartets and other works. The performances will be illustrated by letters and other contemporary writings, putting the music into the wider context of the composer’s life in an entertaining and informative way. The concerts will be given by Sarah Ewins, Susie Mészáros, Heather Bills and Harvey Davies joined by other members of the Pleyels from time to time.


Each concert features contrasting chamber music by other composers for a variety of instrumental combinations and we welcome repertoire suggestions from our audience for future concerts.

Sarah’s famous cakes are available to takeaway and entry to the concerts can be secured for just £5!

10th October 2020: Beethoven Plus! no. 6 Sarah and Harvey continue their exploration of Beethoven’s ten violin sonatas with Op. 12, no. 2 in A major. Dedicated to the court composer Salieri (allegedly Mozart’s poisoner), it is one of the least often performed of the sonatas. We pair it, in this shorter, COVID-Age concert with the glorious Quintet with double bass, in F minor, Op. 41  by Jan Ladislaus Dussek (1760-1812). Completed just a year after Beethoven’s violin sonata in A major, this marvellous piece really deserves to be better-known. The virtuosic piano part was calculated to show off its composer’s skills as pianist and the work was first heard in London 226 years ago.

7th November 2020: Beethoven Plus! no. 7 Programme tba

12th December 2020: Beethoven Plus! no. 8 Programme tba


Previous concerts:

7th September 2019: Beethoven Plus! no. 1 Beethoven Piano Quartet in C WoO 36 PLUS Dvořák Piano Quartet no. 2 in Eb, Op. 87. We open this new series with a work composed by the 15-year-old Beethoven. Known as quartet no. 3, it actually appears first in the manuscript, but has retained the reordering given to it by its first publisher Artaria. Dvořák’s radiant work was written in the summer of 1889 during a period of frenetic inspiration for the composer.

12th October 2019: Beethoven Plus! no. 2 Beethoven Piano Trio in Eb, Op. 1, no. 1 PLUS Clara Schumann Piano Trio in G minor, Op. 17 and Piano Trio no. 2 by Scottish composer James MacMillan.

25th January 2020: Beethoven Plus! no. 3 Beethoven Sonata for violin and piano, Op. 12, no. 1 in D major and the Horn Sonata, Op. 17 written for the virtuoso Giovanni Punto PLUS Brahms’s masterful and tragic Horn Trio, Op. 40, it’s slow movement written in memory of the composer’s mother. We are delighted to welcome one of Britain’s finest horn players, Laurence Davies, to join Sarah and his brother Harvey today.

7th March 2020: Beethoven Plus! no. 4 Beethoven’s first ‘cello sonata in F, Op. 5, no. 1, an enormous, virtuosic statement by the young man begins today’s programme, followed by Stravinsky’s Suite from the Soldier’s Tale and Beethoven’s Op. 11 Trio for clarinet, ‘cello and piano. We welcome the world-famous clarinettist Janet Hilton to join us again.

12th September 2020: Beethoven Plus! no. 5 We are absolutely thrilled to be back after such a long absence, and begin with a trio by Ignaz Pleyel, his Op. 31, no. 1 in F major. Very rarely heard, this fun-filled work certainly deserves an outing and we are pairing it with Beethoven’s Piano Quartet in Eb, WoO36, no. 2, written by a 16-year-old Beethoven who is beginning to flex those mighty musical muscles.

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