Back by popular demand, guest conductor and pianist William Eddins returns for all-Beethoven program
HARTFORD, CT October 6, 2015 – Hartford Symphony Orchestra’s 2015-2016 Masterworks Series continues with Bold Beethoven, Thursday, November 5 through Saturday, November 7 in the Belding Theater at The Bushnell in Hartford. The 3 p.m. matinee performance will be held on Saturday instead of Sunday for this program only, due to the Hartford Veterans’ Day Parade taking place on Sunday. The concerts will be conducted by guest conductor William Eddins, who most recently conducted the HSO in December, 2014. Maestro Eddins, who is the Music Director for the Edminton Symphony Orchestra, will also be the featured pianist for Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor, Op. 37. Other featured Beethoven works include the Coriolan Overture, Op. 62 and Symphony No. 8 in F Major, Op. 93. This concert is sponsored by Cly-Del Manufacturing Company. The 2015-2016 Masterworks Series is sponsored by The Edward C. & Ann T. Roberts Foundation.
About the Program
“There is no more explosive and violent music in Beethoven,” wrote Basil Deane of the Coriolan Overture. The stormy nature of the music was taken by many of the composer’s contemporaries to be a self-portrait, and, indeed, the picture it presents is a tonal parallel to the wind-blown, craggy likenesses of him that have entered into the popular imagination. It is not impossible that Beethoven saw in the hero of the tragedy Coriolanus by Heinrich Joseph von Collin — based on Plutarch via Shakespeare — a forebear of his own personal struggles against the strictures of society. There is nowhere among his orchestral works a more pointed and succinct representation of this side of his personality.
This Overture was inspired by, rather than composed for, Collin’s Coriolanus. Collin was a jurist, poet and, from 1809, court councillor who enjoyed much theatrical success in Vienna with this play. Though Collin’s play was long out of performance by the time Beethoven got around to writing his Overture, there were compelling reasons for his completing the work. This was his fifth overture — preceded by the three Leonores and Prometheus — and for his concerts he needed a new opening piece, a function this new work would perform nicely. Further, Beethoven had still not abandoned hope of securing a regular position as a theatrical composer, and he may have intended this Overture to display his talent to the Viennese impresarios. No post came to Beethoven from these machinations, but he did manage to sell the Overture to the English composer-pianist-publisher Muzio Clementi that same week for a tidy sum. (Clementi wrote to his partner in London, “I think I have made a very good bargain,” as well he might. Beethoven was the “hottest property,” in modern parlance, in European concert circles at that time.)
Beethoven debuted his Piano Concerto No. 3 during a concert in 1803, though it was hardly finished. Ignaz von Seyfried, composer of light operas and conductor at the Theater-an-der-Wien, participated in the premiere of the Third Concerto as page-turner for Beethoven, who was the soloist in the new Concerto. Von Seyfried reported, “He invited me to turn pages for him during the playing of his concerto, but — heavens! — this was more easily said than done. I saw almost completely empty sheets, at the most on some pages a few Egyptian hieroglyphics scribbled down to serve him as guides, but entirely unintelligible to me; for he played almost the whole solo part from memory since, as usual, he lacked the time to write it down. Thus, he only gave me a furtive sign when he reached the end of an invisible passage. My scarcely concealed anxiety lest I miss this decisive moment amused him a good deal, and during our common, merry supper [after the concert] he split his sides laughing about it.” The piano part was apparently not written down until more than a year after the premiere, when Beethoven finally transcribed it from his head onto paper for its performance by Ries at an Augarten concert in July 1804.
The score of the Third Concerto is inscribed, “Concerto 1800 da L.v. Beethoven.” The year 1800 also saw the composition of the First Symphony, the E-flat Septet, the Op. 18 Quartets, the Op. 22 Piano Sonata and the oratorio Christ on the Mount of Olives. It is especially in the Concerto, however, that a new, deeper mode of expression in Beethoven’s music became evident. Tovey wrote that it is “one of the works in which we most clearly see the style of Beethoven’s first period preparing to develop into that of his second.”
Beethoven referred to his Symphony No. 8 as his “little Symphony” in F Major. As regards the elapsed time, he was right — only the First Symphony is of comparable brevity in his symphonic output. In effect, however, the work is rather more concentrated than simply short, and it has a greater impact than its duration would seem to allow. Part of the effectual size of the Symphony is achieved by the multiplicity of musical events that it contains, and author John N. Burk observed that the quick changes from one idea to another carry with them the underlying current of humor that characterizes the work. Pitts Sanborn saw a more universal quality in Beethoven’s style in the Eighth Symphony: “It is the laughter of a man who has lived and suffered and, scaling the heights, achieved the summit…. Only here and there does a note of rebellion momentarily intrude itself; and here and there, in brief lyrical repose we have … an intimation of Divinity more than the ear discovers.”
American music critic Olin Downes wrote, “In no other work is Beethoven more completely and recklessly the master. The audacity and extravagance of his invention are without end, being subject, at the same time, to a supreme command of form and technique.”
About William Eddins
William Eddins is the Music Director of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra and a frequent guest conductor of major orchestras throughout the world. Recent highlights include opening the 2014 Boston Symphony Tanglewood season with soprano Reneé Fleming, conducting the RAI Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale on Italian television and leading Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess with Opera de Lyon. In2012 he led the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra in a Carnegie Hall concert as part of the Spring for Music Festival. In summer 2015, he led the Cleveland Orchestra in Wynton Marsalis’ Swing Symphony with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. Engagements have included the Cleveland Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, the symphony orchestras of Chicago, San Francisco, Minnesota, Cincinnati, Atlanta, Detroit, Dallas, Baltimore, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Houston, as well as the Los Angeles and Buffalo Philharmonics.
He was Principal Guest Conductor of the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra (Ireland) from 2001 to 2006. In Europe he has conducted the Berlin Staatskapelle, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Bergen Philharmonic, Barcelona Symphony Orchestra, and the Lisbon Metropolitan Orchestra. He has also conducted the Natal Philharmonic on tour of South Africa with soprano Renee Fleming, as well as the orchestras of Perth and Adelaide in Australia.
Mr. Eddins is an accomplished pianist and chamber musician. He regularly play-conducts from the piano in works by Mozart, Beethoven, Gershwin and Ravel.
For high resolution photos of Mr. Eddins, please visit http://www.williameddins.com/mgrmedia.html
Hartford Symphony Orchestra Masterworks Series
Thursday – Saturday, December 5-7*
*The 3 p.m. matinee performance will be held on Saturday instead of Sunday for this program only, due to the Hartford Veterans’ Day Parade taking place on Sunday.
Belding Theater at The Bushnell
Thursday 7:30pm?Friday 8pm?Saturday 3 & 8 pm
Tickets starting at $36; $10 for students with ID
860-987-5900 or www.hartfordsymphony.org
William Eddins conductor and piano
Coriolan Overture, Op. 62
Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor, Op. 37
Symphony No. 8 in F Major, Op.93
Masterworks Series Sponsor:
The Edward C. and Ann T. Roberts Foundation
Concert sponsors: Cly-Del Manufacturing Company
HSO programs are funded in part by the Greater Hartford Arts Council, the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, and with support from the Department of Economic and Community Development, Connecticut Office of the Arts, which also receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.
Upcoming HSO Concerts
JOYFUL VOICES with THE HARTFORD CHORALE
Thursday – Sunday, December 3-6, 2015
Belding Theater at The Bushnell
Thursday 7:30pm?Friday & Saturday 8pm?Sunday 3pm
Tickets starting at $35.00; $10.00 for students with ID
860-987-5900 or www.hartfordsymphony.org
860-987-5900 or www.hartfordsymphony.org <https://hartfordsymphony.org>
Carolyn Kuan conductor
Richard Coffey, music director
Matthew Worth baritone
Melody Moore soprano
Higdon Blue Cathedral
Fauré Requiem in D minor, Op. 48
Handel Excerpts from Messiah
Let joyous music warm your heart and lift your holiday spirit, as the masterful musicians of the HSO are joined by the magnificent voices of The Hartford Chorale. 2010 Pulitzer Prize winner Jennifer Higdon describes the muse for her composition as being “blue like the sky, where all possibilities soar…and a cathedral, a place of thought, growth and spiritual expression.” Created almost certainly as a musical tribute to his father, Fauré’s Requiem is noted for its calm, serene and peaceful outlook. Handel’s oratorio Messiah is the most powerful telling of the Passion story – a soaring celebration of salvation and rebirth!