BEETHOVEN CONCERT 13 of 40: “I get Beethoven”, she says.

Olivia Wilding wasn’t the only one blogging at the opening of Part Two of the BEETHOVEN reCYCLE series in Napier. Chamber Music New Zealand’s Sue Jane headed up to Hawke’s Bay to enjoy the concert with her mum and sister…


Sue (right) with her mum Annie and sister Katie.

Sue (right) with her mum Annie and sister Katie.

I love Beethoven.

I’ve grown up with Beethoven, with snippets of his sonatas, symphonies and concertos seemingly punctuating important moments of my life: Bursary Maths exam turned into a mental wrestling match for supremacy between Calculus and the 3rd movement of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No.1!

This family-wide obsession with Beethoven can be laid squarely at my mother’s feet.  “I get Beethoven”, she says. “He’s clear-cut, no nonsense and I seem to understand what he’s driving at when I play him.”… So much so that the Appassionata Sonata was one of Mum’s pieces for FTCL (Fellowship).  Her ‘signature piece’ as we call it.

Annie Lascelles (Mum), then a callow youth of 20 attained FTCL in 1942 under the tutelage of her beloved teacher Sister Chanel.  Now aged 90, Annie’s still going strong, so it seemed fitting that I come to Napier to take her and my sister Katie to this amazing concert – Michael Houstoun’s “Appassionata”.  And we weren’t disappointed.  I think Annie’s found a kindred spirit in Michael, as he also seems to resoundingly ‘get’ Beethoven!

“You could hear the notes almost clicking in their clarity” (as Sister Chanel would’ve described it). “It was refreshing to hear all the sonatas played at an appropriate tempo” (as Annie would describe it).  She was also surprised and gratified to recognise so many of the sonatas played tonight – and got into a lively discussion on the way home about how the music can transport you to another plain.  All great stuff!

As for sis Katie and me?  We enjoyed being able to take time out from our busy lives, let the beautiful music wash over us, and share a packet of tissues as we revelled in the beauty and emotion that is our Mum’s Signature Piece.

– Sue, 26.06.13

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