British Trumpeter Alison Balsom Makes H&H Debut Tonight
Under the baton of guest conductor Richard Egarr, the Handel and Haydn Society (H&H) continues its survey of the nine symphonies by Ludwig van Beethoven with Beethoven No. 4. For this lively concert presenting two witty giants of Classical music, Beethoven and his teacher Joseph Haydn, the Period Instrument Orchestra will also perform Haydn's valedictory "London" symphony and groundbreaking Trumpet Concerto with superstar trumpeter Alison Balsom as soloist.
"Often overshadowed because of its position between the more famous Third and Fifth, Beethoven's Fourth Symphony is a brilliant, rollicking party-bus of a symphony," says Egarr, who last spring led the Period Instrument Orchestra in Beethoven's Seventh Symphony. He adds, "Haydn's Trumpet Concerto is beloved by the public, just like Alison Balsom, our wonderful soloist, whom I am really excited to be working with for the first time."
Hailed by the international press as "an astonishing virtuosa" with "glamorous stage presence," the 34-year-old Balsom was named in September 2013 Gramophone Artist of the Year. Raised in Royston, England where she grew up playing in brass bands, she is today one on the few classical musicians to have achieved a successful solo career on the trumpet. Balsom will be making her H&H debut on an 18th-century replica instrument, a so-called "key trumpet," very similar in design and sound to the instrument that Viennese court trumpeter Anton Weidinger used to premiere the Haydn Trumpet Concerto in 1796.
Supplying further novelty to the Beethoven No. 4 program is a seldom-played symphony by Wilhelm Friedrich Ernst Bach. The only grandson of Johann Sebastian Bach to gain fame as a composer, W.F.E. Bach was described later in life by 19th-century Romantic composer Robert Schumann as "a very agile old gentleman of 84 years with snow-white hair and expressive features."
Tonight's January 24 performance will be followed by the season's second H2 Young Professionals event, held at Lucca Back Bay, 116 Huntington Ave., Boston. Handel and Haydn's audience is comprised of 30% 18-44 year olds, and the H2 program holds post-concert receptions throughout the year for these young attendees to mingle with musicians and each other. For more information, visit www.handelandhaydn.org/concerts/h2.