Philharmonic salutes Beethoven

Ludwig van Beethoven
Ludwig van Beethoven

SACRAMENTO — The Sacramento Philharmonic’s 2012 Beethoven tribute offers a multi-faceted look at the beloved composer.

On the program is his Grosse Fuge (Great Fugue), which one music critic called “the most radical work by the most formidable composer in history.” In 2005 a librarian at the Palmer Theological Seminary discovered a lost manuscript of the piece. It was a draft of an arrangement for piano, four hands. The discovery brought new insight to the work, which was later sold to an unnamed buyer for $1.95 million.

Beethoven’s often overlooked Symphony No. 4 in B-flat Major offers an opportunity for Music Director Michael Morgan and the orchestra to shine in a work that is rich and inventive. Young Concerto competition winner Eunghee Cho plays a work by Beethoven’s teacher, Haydn — Concerto No. 2 for Cello and Orchestra. And in the contemporary spirit of inspired innovation, the audience will hear the West Coast premiere of Christopher Stark’s Promontories, a musical interpretation of three Ansel Adams photographs.

Even Joseph Haydn, teacher of the great Beethoven, had his struggles for survival. In the Classical Era there were only three paths to earn a living: service to the church, the patronage of an aristocrat or the rocky path of folk music. Hadyn began as a poor street singer, later finding a more reliable career as the court composer for the Eszterházy family. His Second Cello Concerto was written for the first cellist in the Eszterházy orchestra.

Like the recent discovery of Beethoven’s Grosse Fugue manuscript, the authenticity of Haydn’s Second Cello Concerto was only confirmed in 1951 when his signature was discovered on a manuscript. Authentic or not, the piece has been a popular choice for cellists for two centuries and is noted for its virtuosic solo part. Young cellist Eunghee Cho, a senior at Davis Senior High School and alumnus of the Sacramento Youth Symphony, plays the work and demonstrates the talent that brought him first place in the 2011 Concerto Competition. 

Sacramento Loves Beethoven! will be performed at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 18, at the Community Center Theater. To purchase single tickets call the Sacramento Community Center Theater at (916) 808-5181 or visit sacphil.org.

“Speaking of Music”
Ticket-holders are invited to a free informal talk/conversation in the theater one hour prior to the concert. On Feb. 18 the special guest will be composer Christopher Stark, whose work Promontories will receive its West Coast Premiere that evening. In recent years Stark’s creative output has been themed primarily on and around the American West.  He will share his creative process for this work, particularly the influence of three of Ansel Adams’ iconic photographs.

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Posted by on Feb 7 2012.
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