Beethoven PLUS!

Next Concert:

Beethoven Plus! no 9: 24th June 2021

This concert doubles as the first in our day of concerts celebrating the Ensemble’s Tenth Anniversary. WooWooWoo!

Harvey and Helen Davies play Beethoven’s short Sonata for piano duet, Op. 6 plus a special surprise item, then we revisit our Mozart and Haydn Plus! Series with Mozart’s fabulous Sonata in Bb K. 454 written for the violin virtuosa, Regina Strinasacchi, who was visiting Vienna in 1784. We finish with Haydn’s 18th piano trio, the A major written in 1794.

The Divine Spark by Ian Hill-Smith
The Divine Spark by Ian Hill-Smith

Beethoven Plus! features Beethoven’s complete chamber works with piano including the violin sonatas, cello sonatas, trios and piano quartets.

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!

Previous Concerts

We’re making up for lost time, so this is Beethoven Plus! number 8, hot on the heels of no. 7. Sarah and Harvey play Beethoven’s virtuosic and ground-breaking Sonata for violin and piano in Eb major, Op. 12, no. 3. Dedicated to Antonio Salieri, this remarkable music was designed to showcase its creator’s skills as pianist and composer. We pair it with a work by another young virtuoso composer of the next generation: Johannes Brahms’ Piano Quartet in G minor, Op. 25 with its famous ‘Gypsy’ last movement. This wonderful piece was also calculated to thrill!!

Two more of Beethoven’s chamber works flank a late piano trio by Mozart. We begin with Ludwig’s Variations for ‘cello and piano, WoO46, on a theme from Mozart’s Magic Flute: ‘Bei Männern, welche Liebe fühlen’. This is sung by Papageno lamenting his inability to get himself a date!! Beethoven’s variations on this famous tune date from 1801 when the melody itself was only ten years old! Next is a little jewel of Beethoveniana, the perfect trio movement in Bb written in 1812 as a present for a ten year old girl; Maximiliane Brentano, daughter of the lady who may have been Beethoven’s ‘Immortal Beloved’….if that’s the case, no wonder the music is so tender and special… We finish with Mozart’s late piano trio in G major, K. 564 from 1788. This charming work is Mozart’s last offering in the genre, it’s simplicity belying its maturity, but underlining its genius.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.