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Yefim Bronfman with Madison Symphony Orchestra
March 9, 2014 @ 2:30 pm
Influential Composer, Powerful Pianist:
Yefim Bronfman plays Two Beethoven Concertos
with the Madison Symphony Orchestra March 7, 8, 9
No conductor’s anniversary is complete without Beethoven, the composer at the heart of the orchestral experience. On March 7, 8, and 9, conductor John DeMain (in his 20th year at the podium) and the Madison Symphony Orchestra will welcome internationally renowned pianist Yefim Bronfman to perform two concertos in an all-Beethoven program in Overture Hall.
Bronfman has been a star of the classical music stage since his teenage years. The Soviet-born Israeli-American was a student at the Rubin Academy of Music in Tel Aviv, The Juilliard School and the Curtis Institute. He has since fashioned a career as a seasoned soloist with decades of prestigious orchestral engagements and critically acclaimed recitals. He made his Carnegie Hall Debut in 1989 and won a Grammy Award in 1997 for his recordings of three Bartók piano concertos. He is consistently praised for his commanding technique and exceptional lyrical gifts. This virtuoso is a must-see.
Bronfman will take the stage twice per concert. First he will perform Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 2, a piece that reflects the early Classical period techniques of Beethoven’s major predecessors, Mozart and Haydn. He will then perform Piano Concerto No. 5 (“Emperor”), also by Beethoven, a virtuosic and grand work reflecting the more Romantic leanings that Beethoven acquired during his “Heroic” period. Two additional orchestral works are programmed for the symphony performance: Beethoven’s Symphony No. 1, and Overture to The Creatures of Prometheus.
The concerts are Fri., March 7, at 7:30 p.m.; Sat., March 8, at 8 p.m.; and Sun., March 9, at 2:30 p.m. in Overture Hall, 201 State Street.
Beethoven’s early career seems to have been a period of systematically mastering successive genres. While he was a teenager he produced mostly Lieder, piano works, and chamber works, thoroughly Classical in character and embodying the style of Mozart and his teacher Haydn. Symphony No. 1 was composed later in 1799-1800, when Beethoven was almost 30 years old, yet remained true to the relatively more conservative form and style of works by his predecessors, particularly the London Symphonies by Haydn. Still, the piece hints at the individuality that would blossom in Beethoven’s subsequent music.
Viennese audiences of the late 1700’s demanded piano concertos at their concerts. As Beethoven began to make his way in the city, he recognized that Mozart’s successes a decade earlier rested largely on his piano concertos. In 1795 he presented his earliest concerto (misleadingly named Piano Concerto No. 2 due to publishing date). Like Symphony No.1, the youthful concerto largely retains conventions of Classical form. However, Beethoven could not resist tweaking it. The surprisingly intense orchestral exposition gives way to a piano entrance with unexpectedly new material and a lengthy development section. The second movement has been described as a kind of operatic scene, almost vocal in conception, and the third movement ends with a humorous coda.
The other piano concerto Bronfman will perform is Beethoven’s fifth and final one, Concerto No. 5, also titled “Emperor”. The 1809 composition represents the unabashedly dramatic and self-assured side of Beethoven’s “Heroic “period. Several writers have commented on the “military” side of the concerto, and the key of the piece, E-flat Major, commonly had associations with heroism and grandeur for Beethoven and his contemporaries. Written out cadenzas (an innovative technique, soloists usually improvised these in performance) seem to signify Beethoven’s heightened sense of artistic control and individuality at this stage in his career.
Overture to The Creatures of Prometheus is a compact piece–originally the opening of an hour long ballet. Shortly after the premier of his first symphony in 1801, Beethoven was approached by the dancer Salvatore Vigano to write music for a new ballet. Beethoven was the perfect match for Vigano (who would dance the title role)—both were seen as somewhat of radicals in their respective arts. The final product, depicting a titan who defies authority for the benefit of all humankind, resonated with the revolutionary feeling that was present even in Imperial Vienna in 1800, and was a smash hit. Then and today the overture enjoys frequent performances on the symphonic stage.
Groups of 15 or more can save 25% by calling the MSO office at (608) 257-3734.
For more information visit, www.madisonsymphony.org/groups
Student rush tickets can be purchased in person on the day of the concert at the Overture Box Office at 201 State Street. Full-time students must show a valid student ID and can receive up to two $12 or $15 tickets. More information is at: www.madisonsymphony.org/
Seniors age 62 and up receive 20% savings on advance and day-of-concert ticket purchases in select areas of the hall.
Discounted seats are subject to availability, and discounts may not be combined.
The Madison Symphony Orchestra marks its 88th concert season in 2013-2014 by celebrating John DeMain’s 20th anniversary as music director. The Symphony engages audiences of all ages and backgrounds in live classical music through a full season of concerts with established and emerging soloists of international renown, an organ series that includes free concerts, and widely respected education and community engagement programs. Find more information at www.madisonsymphony.org.
Major funding for this concert is provided by The Madison Concourse Hotel, Kenneth A. Lattman Foundation, Inc., and Stephen D Morton. Additional Funds are provided by Martha and Charles Casey, J.H. Findorff and Son Inc., and the Wisconsin Arts Board.