Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra Presents BEETHOVEN'S 'EROICA' SYMPHONY, Now thru 3/30
The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and Music Director Edo de Waart continue the 2014 Beethoven Festival with Beethoven's Symphony No. 3, "Eroica," today, March 27-30, 2014 at the Pabst Theater. The performances include Stravinsky's Concerto in D major, John Adams's Saxophone Concerto with saxophonist Timothy McAllister, and Beethoven's Symphony No. 3, "Eroica." Stravinsky's Concerto in D major for String Orchestra was composed from 1946-1947. The Concerto in D major was Stravinsky's first European commission after his move to the United States in 1939. The work was commissioned by the Swiss conductor and arts patron Paul Sacher to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of Sacher's Basel Chamber Orchestra. The Concerto in D is representative of Stravinsky's neoclassical style, defined by the inclusion of various stylistic and formal aspects of Classical form.
John Adams's Saxophone Concerto was composed and premiered in 2013. The use of the saxophone in the classical repertory is rare and amounts to only a handful of solos, such as the "Jet Song" solo in Leonard Bernstein's West Side Story. Adams grew up with a saxophone-playing father, and he has incorporated the instrument into many of his works. Adams writes about the piece: "While the concerto is not meant to sound jazzy per se, its jazz influences lie only slightly below the surface. I make constant use of the instrument's vaunted agility as well as its capacity for a lyrical utterance that is only a short step away from the human voice."
Beethoven's Symphony No. 3 in E-flat minor, Opus 55, "Eroica," was composed in 1803-1804 and premiered in 1805. Beethoven had been enamored with Napoleon Bonaparte and his fight against political tyranny and inequality. However, when Napoleon appointed himself Emperor, Beethoven, dismayed by the hypocrisy, scratched out the Symphony's original inscription of "intitolata Bonaparte" with a knife and instead titled the piece Sinfonia eroica (Heroic Symphony). The symphony pushed the art of symphonic writing into a new realm, as it was nearly twice as long as symphonies written before it and contained a complex harmonic language.
A B O U T T H E A R T I S T S
The 2013.14 season is Edo de Waart's fifth as the sixth music director of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. He is also chief conductor of the Royal Flemish Philharmonic, artistic partner of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, and conductor laureate of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra. Guest conducting highlights include performances with the San Francisco Symphony, NHK Symphony, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Washington's National Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Sydney Symphony, and Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. As an opera conductor, Mr. de Waart has conducted at Nikikai Opera, Geneva Opera, Opera de Bastille, Santa Fe Opera, and Metropolitan Opera. Semi-staged and concert opera performances include Der Rosenkavalier (The Metropolitan Opera), Bluebeard's Castle (Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra), and The Rake's Progress (Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra). He regularly conducts an opera with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic as part of the Concertgebouw's Zaterdag Matinee series.
Edo de Waart's extensive catalogue encompasses releases for Philips, Virgin, EMI, Telarc, and RCA. With the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, he has recorded all the orchestral works of Rachmaninoff, the overtures of Wagner for Octavia/Exton, and a Wagner series for Challenge Classics.