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symphonic

VFCO / RATTLE / KAVAKOS / MÄKELÄ / SHANI

Beethoven

Sir Simon Rattle will conduct the VFCO in a memorable Beethoven triple feature with three of his fellow conductors, Klaus Mäkelä, Lahav Shani and Leonidas Kavakos respectively as the cello, piano and violin soloists. The Triple Concerto will be followed by the ‘Eroica’ Symphony No. 3.

Programme

LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
Triple Concerto in C major Op. 56

Interval

LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
Symphony No. 3 in E-flat major Op. 55 “Eroica”

Completed in 1804, Beethoven’s Triple Concerto is the only one in the repertoire whose ‘soloist’ is a piano trio – a chamber genre which at the time was hugely popular, meaning Beethoven was being both highly fashionable and entirely unique. It opens strikingly, on a tiptoe, with an ascending figure from which much of the movement’s ensuing march-like material will be drawn. A brief but expressive central Largo makes much of the cello’s upper registers, before tipping seamlessly into a flashy-yet-elegant finale built around a triple-time Polonaise dance and featuring the work’s only solo cadenza. Originally conceived in honour of Napoleon, Beethoven’s ‘Heroic’ Symphony No. 3 was of an unprecedented length for its 1803 time, and his first without a slow introduction. It opens instead on two choral explosions, then a forwards-pushing theme (with a ‘surprise’ final twist) which will appear throughout the work in various guises. Next come an extended funeral march, and a merrily bucolic Scherzo with a central trio of hunting horns. The finale opens on a shout, proceeds with a whisper – plucked strings with the bass-line of the theme Beethoven then turns into a set of variations – before dancing to a triumphant finish.