Mark Gresham | 11 SEP 2020
Emory Chamber Music Society of Atlanta (ECMSA) opened its 2020-21 season today in virtual mode with an all-Beethoven program performed by violinist Helen Hwaya Kim, cellist Rainer Eudeikis and pianist William Ransom. The concert, part of ECMSA’s Cooke Noontime Series, marked the beginning of a recuperated latter half of their 2019-2020 season, which was stopped in its tracks, like everyone else’s, by the COVID-19 pandemic in the middle of March.
Likewise like nearly everyone else in classical music, ECMSA was celebrating the 250th birth year anniversary of Ludwing van Beethoven (baptized 17 December, 1770). The Society’s concerts for this fall are now scheduled so that they will complete the cycle of Beethoven’s piano sonatas, string quartets, violin sonatas and cello sonatas in time for the composer’s semiquincentennial birthday.
This particular episode, live-streamed from First Presbyterian Church of Atlanta rather than the series’ traditional in-person audience at the Michael C. Carlos Museum, was a well-played first installment toward that goal.
Eudeikis — principal cello of teh Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, making his ECMSA debut inthis concert — and Ransom opened the program with Beethoven’s Cello Sonata No. 3 in A major, Op. 69 from 1808, during the composer’s so-called “heroic” or middle period. For the second half, Kim and Ransom performed Beethoven’s great Violin Sonata No. 7 in C minor, Op. 30, composed between 1801 and 1802, right on the cusp of that same middle period, when he clearly was moving away from the Classicism of Mozart and Haydn and thoroughly into his his own voice.
The good and friendly acoustics of First Presbyterian supported well what were thoroughly engaging performances by these three accomplished masked musicians; even if you have no first-hand experience of them, the tell-tale signs of their contributions were pretty well evident in the audio of the video stream. Not a replication of the live experience, but not contrary to it either. It certainly make a difference when classical music is performed in sonically suitable environment, and if an audio recording can capture some of that in the process of live performance, then all the better. ■