Hear Beethoven sonatas in Holmes Lounge Feb. 23

Christina Mahler, principal cellist for Toronto’s Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, will join fortepianist Seth Carlin, professor of piano and fortepiano in the Department of Music in Arts & Sciences, for a performance of three Beethoven masterpieces at 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23 in Ridgley Hall, Holmes Lounge.

Presented by The Kingsbury Ensemble, St. Louis’ leading early-music group, the program (previously scheduled for March 22) will feature Beethoven’s Opus 5, No. 2; Opus 69; and Opus 102, No. 1 played on period instruments for the first time in St. Louis.

Christina Mahler will perform Beethoven on the period instrument violoncello.

Sonatas for cello and fortepiano were a new instrumental form in the late 18th and early 19th century. Beethoven used sonatas as musical experiments that would later enter his orchestral work, with influences of Haydn and Mozart competing with later Romantic themes.

But most of all, Beethoven’s sonatas for violoncello and fortepiano treat the two instruments as equal partners. “There’s a better equilibrium between the two,” said Carlin, who serves as fortepianist with The Kingsbury Ensemble. “The modern piano tends to dominate the cello. Original instruments help restore the balance which Beethoven had in mind.”

Carlin has performed with orchestras around the world and with conductors such as Nicholas McGegan, Leonard Slatkin and Roger Norrington. In 1991-92 he performed the complete Schubert fortepiano sonatas in New York City — concerts that were broadcast nationally on National Public Radio. More recently he appeared as soloist with the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra in Beethoven’s “Triple” Concerto as well as with San Francisco’s Philharmonia Baroque, the period-instrument orchestra.

Mahler, a native of Holland, studied at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague and, in 1981, immigrated to Canada to join the Tafelmusik orchestra, where she has served as principal cellist ever since. She has played and recorded numerous concertos with Tafelmusik, including works by Boccherini, Haydn, Vivaldi, Bach and Leonardo Leo. She also is member of the Ottawa-based string quartet Quatuor Lumiere.

Tickets are $15; $10 for seniors and $5 for students and are available through the Edison Theatre box office at 935-6543 and at the door.

For more information, call 862-2675 or visit kingsburyensemble.org.