Noah Chen and Beilin Han

Noah Chen, cello

Beilin Han, piano


October 28, 2020

Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts

David Schwan, host


Ludwig van Beethoven – Sonata No. 4 in C Major, Op. 102, No. 1 (13′)

I. Andante – Allegro vivace

II. Adagio – Tempo d’andante – Allegro vivace

Johannes Brahms – Cello Sonata No. 1 in E minor, Op. 38 (23′)

I. Allegro non troppo

II. Allegretto quasi minuetto

III. Allegro

Cellist, Noah Chen currently attends the Pre-College Division of the Juilliard School, under the tutelage of Dr. Clara Kim. Noah is both an avid soloist and chamber musician. As a member of the Chen String Quartet, he has performed for NPR’s From the Top, Make Music Chicago 2020, and the International Music Foundation’s Rush Hour Concert Series. He is the former Principal Cello of the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra and the Juilliard Pre-College Orchestra. As a soloist, Noah has performed with the Oistrakh Symphony of Chicago twice, the CYSO, and the Sinfonietta DuPage. In recital, Chen has performed in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, Paul Hall at the Juilliard School, Merkin Concert Hall, Nichols Hall at the Music Institute of Chicago, and the Dumbarton House. As a participant of the Aspen Music Festival and School, he performed in Harris Concert Hall on numerous occasions. He has been a guest on WFMT’s Introductions several times. Noah plays on an English cello made by William Forster in 1800.

Beilin Han was born in Shanghai, China and began studying piano at the age of three. She attended the Shanghai Conservatory of Music for Primary and Middle School and also attended the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts in Singapore on a full scholarship. Immediately after graduating from Academy in Singapore, Ms. Han was accepted into the University of Kansas for her Masters Degree, being the only full scholarship recipient at the time.

Beilin was invited to perform at the 7th Annual World Piano Pedagogy Conference in Las Vegas in 2002 and was honored as a Young Artist in 2003. In 2004, Ms. Han became a prize winner of the Vianna Da Motta International Piano Competition in Portugal. She toured internationally as a concert pianist performing throughout China, Portugal, Spain, and the US. She also appeared on radio programs in Singapore and the U.S., as well as a television program in China.

In 2008, Ms. Han graduated from the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University, where she earned her Artistic Diploma with Solomon Mikowsky and Meng-Chieh Liu.

In addition to Ms. Han’s successful solo career, she enjoys chamber music and collaborating with such artists as pianist Alberto Portugheis, world-renowned countertenor Paul Esswood, world-famous violinists Shmuel Ashkenasi, Yossif Ivanov, Ilya kaler, Kyoko Takezawa and Elmar Oliveira among others. She has also played for world-famous conductors such as Riccardo Muti and Christoph Eschenbach.

Currently, Ms. Han is a collaborative pianist at both Northwestern University and DePaul School of Music, Chicago Stradivari Society and joined the collaborative piano faculty at the Heifetz International Music Institute since 2011 and Cremona International music festival in 2015.

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)

Sonata No. 4 in C Major,

Op. 102, No. 1 (1815) 

Ludwig van Beethoven wrote five sonatas for piano and cello, with no real precursor having written for this duo in the before. Typical in much of Beethoven’s music, he was the trailblazer and would inspire countless other composers to follow suit bringing the cello out of it’s continuo role. Beethoven wrote these sonatas with both cello and piano in equal standings, which was contrary to the standard practice in the classical period when it was standard for strings to simply play backup for the harpsichord, fortepiano or later grand piano. The only other composer before Beethoven to be commended for equalizing the instruments roles was Mozart in his ten violin sonatas.

Sonata No. 4 in C Major, Op. 102, No. 1 is the fourth of the five sonatas Beethoven wrote for piano and cello. Composed in 1815, twelve years before his death, this composition represents the start of his final artistic phase, one of complete freedom and independence, when Beethoven stopped trying to follow the rules and instead reinvented the rules to work for him. Beethoven even subtitled this sonata in his manuscript “free sonata.” This freedom is immediately evident in the Sonata’s construction, consisting of two roughly equal in length movements that each start with a slow introduction followed by a fast section. The slow introduction to the second movement is longer than the first movement’s introduction though, acting like an intermezzo, in place of a slow middle movement. The main body of both movements are typical of Beethoven, housing lively themes, both rhythmic and melodic in essence while the introductions are ethereal and vocally haunting as a whole.

Notes by Ashley Ertz

Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)

Cello Sonata No. 1 in E minor,

Op. 38 (1865) 

Similar to the previously heard Beethoven, this work by Brahms is also originally written as a Sonata for piano and cello. Brahms likely wrote the title as this to emphasize the dual importance of both performers throughout the work. The bulk of Brahms’ Cello Sonata No. 1 in E minor, Op. 38 was written in 1862 but the finale wasn’t completed until three years later in 1865. This sonata originally started as a three movement collection for amateur cellist Josef Gansbacher. However, in 1865, Brahms added the fugal finale and took out the Adagio movement previously written, leaving the oddly structured three movement sonata we have today. The three movements left are the opening sonata structured Allegro non troppo, the second movement with the mark of “quasi Menuetto” and the fugal finale.

The first movement is an expanded sonata form, complete with an exposition that is soft and expressive before building to a forte arpeggiated second theme and then ends softly again. We revisit the previous two themes in the development section and then again in the recapitulation but with a minor twist. The middle movement, Allegretto quasi Menuetto is in a typical minuet form, starting with a stately dance followed by a series of variations. The final movement titled Allegro is in a fugal form. Parts of this movement are thought to be reminiscent of both Beethoven’s late fugues and Bach’s Art of Fugue. The fugue reappears throughout the movement blended with the sonata form.

Notes by Ashley Ertz

Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts are made possible through the generosity of the Paul M. Angell Family Foundation, the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Illinois Arts Council and the Union League Club of Chicago.
Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts are presented in partnership with the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and 98.7 WFMT

Don’t miss Marie Tachouet and Beilin Han

next week on the

Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts!

Wednesday November 4, 12:15pm

Pin It on Pinterest