The second subscription concert of Series C brings together Ludwig van Beethoven, who enchanted the nobility of Vienna with his talent as a young composer, and Béla Bartók, whose Viola Concerto was one of the final works composed at the end of his life.
Music for Ensemble and Orchestra (2018)
Ludwig van Beethoven
Symphony No. 1 in C Major, Op. 21
The second subscription concert of Series C brings together Ludwig van Beethoven, who enchanted the nobility of Vienna with his talent as a young composer, and Béla Bartók, whose Viola Concerto was one of the final works composed at the end of his life. Baron Gottfried van Swieten was the patron behind Beethoven’s First Symphony, while Bartók wrote his concert at the request of a performer, the Scottish violist William Primrose. In his fresh, energetic symphony, Beethoven proudly paid tribute to his teacher Joseph Haydn, who was his equal in terms of the quantity and originality of his musical ideas. In his Viola Concerto, Bartók could build upon on a lifetime of compositional mastery, but he was unable to finish the work. He was in the last stages of his battle with leukaemia, but he still wrote to William Primrose that the concerto was nearly finished. Bartók’s friend Tibor Serly put the finishing touches on the concerto, and the composer’s son and the American violist Paul Neubauer made later revisions.
The concert will open with Music for Ensemble and Orchestra by Steve Reich, which was commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic. The conductor of the premiere was Susanna Mälkki. Reich works with an extended form of the Baroque concerto grosso, in which there are twenty solo instruments including vibraphone and two pianos. The tempo of the five-movement composition remains constant, while there are changing note values in the pulsating parts for the two pianos. Thematically, the work is based on Reich’s earlier composition Runner.