James Ross, Director of Orchestral Activities at University of Maryland, guest conducting
Bridgette Gan, soprano
What do Beethoven’s final compositional thoughts have to do with those of a boy lying on the grass in Knoxville, Tennessee? Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915 based on a text by James Agee says at its climax: “By some chance, here (we) are, all on this earth; and who shall ever tell the sorrow of being on this earth, lying, on quilts, on the grass, in a summer evening, among the sounds of night.” Beethoven’s last string quartet includes some of the most inventive and sublime notes he ever conceived and this music asks “Must it be so?” The inevitable reply is that “It must be so!” What do beauty and joy mean in a world that we must one day leave behind? Do we go out smiling? Perhaps each in their own way, Mozart, Beethoven, and Barber are addressing that same eternal question.
Free, no tickets required. Pre-concert performance to begin at 1:15 p.m. in the lobby.