Concert of October 19, 2015

Curiosities

 

MEDEA AND THE CRITICS

After its première in Paris at the Fey-deau Theatre, critics of many newspaper, including Le Journal d’indication, Le Journal de Paris, Le Courrier des spectacles, described the music of Medea as large, expressive, majestueuse et terrible”. Wagner defined Medea's Ouverture as “Grand”. After a performance of Medea in Vienna in 1871, Brahms wrote “Medea has caught me once more in an incredible way ... while we never end up talking about Tristan, we brush this magnificent work under the carpet, as if it were the most natural thing in the world”

 

MEDEA AND SANTA CECILIA

In 1968 the Orchestra of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia recorded a CD of Medea with DECCA: Conductor Lamberto Gardelli, Choirmaster George Kirshner, with Gwyneth Jones in the role of Medea, Bruno Prevedi, Pilar Lorengar, Fiorenza Cossotto, Justino Diaz.

 

BEETHOVEN AND CHERUBINI 

Beethoven's letter to Cherubini (Vienna, around 12 March 1823)

Highly esteemed Sir,

I joyfully take advantage of this opportunity to address you. I have done so frequently in spirit, as I prize your theatrical works beyond others (...).  True art is imperishable, and the true artist feels heartfelt pleasure in grand works of genius. And that is what enchants me when I hear a new composition of yours; in fact, I take greater interest in it than in my own; in short, I love and honour you. Were it not that my continued bad health prevents my going to see you in Paris, with what exceeding delight would I discuss questions of art with you!  

(...) I shall forever continue to love and esteem you (...) Art unites everyone, how much more, then, true artists, and hopefully, maybe, you will deem that I deserve to be included in that number. (...) Your friend and servant

B.

 

BEETHOVEN AND DANTE, according to Berlioz 

The Adagio (of the fourth symphony) escapes any analysis (...). Already from the start one is moved by such a powerful emotion and in the end it is so strong that one gets overwhelmed; and only in the work of a giant of poetry could we find something that matches this sublime proof of a giant of music. In fact, the overall effect of this Adagio has the greatest affinity with that of the moving episode of Francesca da Rimini in the Divine Comedy, whose story Virgil cannot hear without holding back his tears, while Dante, at the last verse, falls "as a dead body falls". It is as though the archangel Michael inspired this piece of music the day when, caught by an excess of melancholy, he was contemplating the worlds on the threshold of paradise.

 

BEETHOVEN WITH HIS FRIENDS

What luck to have been friends of Beethoven, especially when he let them hear his compositions, as evidenced by the painting of Albert Graefle portraying the Master while he plays for his close friends.

 

DID YOU KNOW…


There is a website dedicated to Beethoven with a very interesting, animated, educational section for children.

 

BEETHOVEN ON RADIO BONN 


In 1984, the advertising poster of Radio Bonn portrayed Beethoven with headphones and microphone with the following words: "Here is Ludwig van Beethoven, Radio Bonn. Listen to some German prodigy musicians like Orff, Henze, Stockhausen".

 

A REHEARSAL OF THE SEVENTH SYMPHONY op. 92

Beethoven's letter to Archduke Rudolph (Vienna, 20 April 1813)

Your Imperial Highness,

(...) last night I was suddenly struck by such a strong fever that I completely lost conscience, perhaps this is also due to the fact that I had injured my foot, therefore, today I cannot get out, but tomorrow I will be definitely re-established and I therefore kindly ask Your Imperial Highness to gather an orchestra for tomorrow afternoon at a quarter to three, so that the gentlemen of the orchestra are there earlier and there is enough time to rehearse the two overtures, as maybe Your Imperial Highness wishes, in which case I will need 4 horns, while for the symphonies 2 will suffice. As to the instruments for the symphonies (op. 92 and 93) I would like at least 4 first violins, 4 second violins, 4 violas, 2 basses, 2 cellos (...)

I am Your Imperial Highness's faithful and obedient servant,

Ludwig van Beethoven

 

BEETHOVEN AND CINEMA

The Seventh Symphony was used a lot in Cinema productions, also in completely different genres: from horror film The Black Cat (1934 ), to the US television series No Ordinary Family (2010- 2011), up to the comedy Obvious Child (2014). In the drama The King's Speech (2010), the story of King George VI of England, the Allegretto of Symphony no. 7 accompanies the climactic scene of the film, the one in which the king delivered his first speech to the people of England, via the BBC, after the start of World War II. The music is more than a background, and plays a key role in arousing strong feelings and deep emotions.

 
Listening guide by musicologist Giovanni Bietti - concert of 19 October

Browse the libretto

Luigi Cherubini

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