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The music of Beethoven has had a more indelible effect on human civilization than that of perhaps any other composer in Western history. Music@Menlo 2005 journeyed through Beethoven’s monumental body of chamber works—from his early days in Vienna, through the majesty of his middle period, and into the transcendent music composed at the end of his life.
The festival began in Vienna at the dawn of the nineteenth century with the crystallization of Haydn and Mozart’s Classical style. Alongside Beethoven’s seminal and lesser-known works were pieces by some of the Romantic composers who were deeply influenced by Beethoven: Carl Maria von Weber, Felix Mendelssohn, Robert Schumann, and Johannes Brahms. The festival season ended with Beethoven’s final piano sonata and sublime late quartets, composed when he was completely deaf and living in almost complete artistic isolation.