National Repertory Orchestra performs Beethoven at a bargain in Breckenridge |

National Repertory Orchestra performs Beethoven at a bargain in Breckenridge

Benjamin Paul
Special to the Daily
Special to the Daily
Special to the Daily |

If you go

What: National Repertory Orchestra performs “Sunday with Beethoven”

When: 11 a.m. Sunday, July 19

Where: Riverwalk Center, 150 W. Adams Ave., Breckenridge

Cost: All tickets are $20

Program: “Leonore Overture No. 3,” by Ludwig van Beethoven; Cello Concerto No. 2 in D Major, by Joseph Haydn; Symphony No. 7 in A Major, by Beethoven

More information: Call (970) 547-3100, or visit

On Sunday, July 19, the National Repertory Orchestra and conductor Stefano Sarzani will present a morning concert featuring the music of Ludwig van Beethoven. The program will include the composer’s Seventh Symphony, as well as a performance by the winner of the NRO’s 2015 concerto competition. This is a special concert to thank the community for its support of the NRO’s summer season, and all tickets will be sold for a reduced price of $20.

Perhaps more than any other composer, Beethoven’s name has become synonymous with the symphony, if not with classical music as a whole. While Mozart wrote 41 symphonies over the course of his lifetime, Beethoven’s mere nine symphonic works have been enough to establish him definitively as the master of the form. That few major composers since Beethoven have eclipsed that number is testament to the fact that he not only mastered the symphony but redefined it completely.

Born in a time when democratic revolution and Enlightenment ideals were sweeping Europe and America, Beethoven’s compositions mark a changing of eras for the world, as well as for music. The composer turned an art form that had been intended for the entertainment of royalty into an ambitious combination of technical mastery, artistic vision and personal self-definition. His music is the rise of the Romantic individual, and nowhere is this individual fire more evident than in his symphonies.

Symphony No. 7 was written in 1812, four years after the fate-invoking Fifth Symphony and a dozen years before the joyous Ninth. While it contains the same sweeping grandeur as those famous works, the Seventh Symphony’s most striking feature is its use of rhythm. Each movement takes a simple rhythmic pattern and builds a complex musical world upon it, each new theme seeming to arise organically from the music’s rhythmic foundations.

The great German composer Richard Wagner was famously struck by this combination of dance rhythms and Beethoven’s bold musical style. According to Wagner, “the symphony is the apotheosis of the dance itself: It is dance in its highest aspect, the loftiest deed of bodily motion, incorporated into an ideal mold of tone.”

The first movement begins with a peaceful introduction that gradually gives way to a joyful, dancing melody. The famous second movement allegretto is the symphony’s best example of a dynamic musical creation arising from a simple rhythmic gesture. This movement was so popular at its 1813 premiere that the audience demanded the orchestra play it again immediately. A lively scherzo and a triumphant finale follow, each using unexpected key changes to complete the epic journey characteristic of Beethoven’s symphonies.

The NRO’s program also includes Beethoven’s “Leonore Overture No. 3,” one of four overtures that the composer wrote while perfecting his only opera, “Fidelio.” Of the four, only this overture has gone on to become one of Beethoven’s most performed works in the concert hall. The piece captures the heroic nature of the opera, which tells the story of a woman named Leonore who disguises herself as a male prison guard in order to rescue her wrongly imprisoned husband.

“This is one of Beethoven’s best overtures,” said Doug Adams, CEO of the NRO.

The concert will also feature a performance by NRO cellist Yiqiu Chen, the winner of the orchestra’s concerto competition. Chen will perform the first movement of Joseph Haydn’s Cello Concerto No. 2. The concerto, written in 1783, is treasured as one of the only pieces the classical master wrote specifically for the solo cello. Chen is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree from the Eastman School of Music.

John and Connie Stafford are the NRO’s sponsors for this concert. For tickets and more information, call (970) 547-3100, or visit

Benjamin Paul is the marketing and public relations intern for the National Repertory Orchestra.

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