Ludwig van Beethoven was one of the most prolific composers ever to walk the earth, and along with symphonic great Gustav Mahler, audiences are in for treat with this powerful and compelling program. The National Repertory Orchestra, with guest conductor and pianist Jeffrey Kahane, will present a performance of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 in G Major and Symphony No. 1 “Titan” by Mahler on Wednesday, July 30, at the Breckenridge Riverwalk Center.
Opening the concert is Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 in G Major, Opus 58, performed by Kahane, who will play and conduct from the piano. Beethoven was one of the most influential composers in the transition between the Classical and Romantic eras. Sadly, in about 1800, his hearing began to deteriorate, and while he gave up conducting and performing, he continued to compose. Many of his most beloved works came from this period, his Piano Concerto No. 4 being one of them.
The first public performance of the concerto was in December 1808 at the Theater an der Wien in Vienna, Austria, along with the premiere of Beethoven’s mammoth Symphony No. 5. A review of that concert stated, “The concerto is the most admirable, singular, artistic and complex Beethoven concerto ever” and is still widely considered one of the most paramount works in piano concerto literature.
Equally at home at the keyboard or on the podium, Kahane has established an international reputation as a truly versatile artist. Currently in his 17th season as music director of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Kahane concluded his tenure as music director of the Colorado Symphony in June 2010 and for 10 seasons was music director of the Santa Rosa Symphony, where he is now conductor laureate. A native of Los Angeles and a graduate of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Kahane was a finalist at the 1981 Van Cliburn Competition and a recipient of a 1983 Avery Fisher Career Grant.
Last on the program is Mahler’s Symphony No.1 in D Major “Titan.” Incredibly ingenious for a first symphony, Mahler, being inspired by the world around him, packed almost the entirety of the human experience into his symphony. One will hear everything from the sounds of nature to funeral marches, dance music and popular songs, including the French tune “Frere Jacques.”
“The first symphony shows Mahler at his most characteristic and vulnerable — for here he makes an enormous symphony out of the sonic stuff we all know from our lives,” said Michael Tilson Thomas, one of today’s most noted conductors. “He uses birdcalls, the sounds of military bands, folk, salon and cabaret music. He evokes the sound of voices singing, whispering, humming and shrieking — all things we recognize as part of the range of human experience. Mahler was like a cinematographer in music, creating enormous soundscapes that include everything we know of life.”
This performance is dedicated to the NRO’s volunteers and corporate donors; the programs of the National Repertory Orchestra would not be possible without their support. Anne and Bill Mills and Carolee and John Hayes are also concert sponsors.
Tickets can be purchased at the Riverwalk Center Box Office, 150 W. Adams in Breckenridge, by calling (970) 547-3100 or by going to www.nromusic.com. The Breckenridge Welcome Center, open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week, is also selling tickets. Visit them at 203 S. Main St. or call (877) 864-0868.
For more information about the National Repertory Orchestra, visit www.nromusic.com.
Michelle Lewandowski is the marketing and public relations intern for the National Repertory Orchestra.