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Andris Nelsons Leads Beethoven Symphonies 5 & 7, Available Tomorrow At BSO NOW

CRB Classical 99.5 FM and www.classicalwcrb.org continue to feature encore Boston Symphony Orchestra concerts on Saturday evenings.

Andris Nelsons Leads Beethoven Symphonies 5 & 7, Available Tomorrow At BSO NOW

The BSO NOW video stream launching on Thursday, February 25 at noon features BSO Music Director Andris Nelsons leading two of the most popular of Beethoven's instrumental symphonies, the Fifth and Seventh. With each of his symphonies, Beethoven seemed to push the envelope of both technique and expressive intensity.

The Fifth illustrates the composer's struggle from despair to triumph and, despite its familiarity, still has the power to move modern audiences. The Seventh has been one of the composer's most beloved works since its premiere, particularly its famous Allegretto movement.

As with the two previously released Nelsons-led video streams this month, Beethoven's symphonies are juxtaposed with contemporary works that in some way confront and wrestle with the German composer's iconic stature and restless innovation. Carlos Simon's Fate Now Conquers, which was commissioned in 2020 by the Philadelphia Orchestra, is inspired by the Allegretto movement of the Seventh Symphony. According to the composer, "using the beautifully fluid harmonic structure of the second movement of Beethoven's Seventh Symphony, I have composed musical gestures that are representative of the unpredictable ways of fate. Jolting stabs, coupled with an agitated groove with every persona. Frenzied arpeggios in the strings that morph into an ambiguous cloud of free-flowing running passages depicts the uncertainty of life that hovers over us." As part of this concert stream, Beethoven's Seventh Symphony will be heard directly following Simon's work.

Closing this episode is Schoenberg's Phantasy for violin and piano, featuring BSO violinist Haldan Martinson and guest pianist Max Levinson. The theme for the episode's magazine segment is "Beethoven the Modernist," focusing on the countless ways Beethoven's music and life story have influenced future composers and artists across many disciplines.

BSO Music Director Andris Nelsons made a highly anticipated return to the Symphony Hall podium last month after nearly a year's absence due to the live performance hiatus related to the COVID-19 pandemic to lead the Boston Symphony Orchestra in a series of recordings for release on February 8, 15, and 22; they will each remain available for 30 days after their initial release dates at www.bso.org/now. In a poignant reflection on the Beethoven symphonic cycle, Mr. Nelsons was to have conducted with the orchestra this past fall in honor of the 250th anniversary of Beethoven's birth-before the forced cancellation of the entire BSO 2020-21 season-the February concert streams feature Mr. Nelsons and the orchestra in four Beethoven symphonies, nos. 3, 5, 6, and 7, as well as recent orchestral works by Iranian-Canadian composer Iman Habibi, British composer Hannah Kendall, and Atlanta based composer Carlos Simon. Andris Nelsons loves conducting all the Beethoven symphonies and has been engrossed in recording and performing them over the last two to three years. This selection of symphonies highlights Beethoven's different approaches to the form, as well as being great showcases for the strengths of the BSO. Click here for a video statement from Mr. Nelsons.

These February BSO NOW concert streams also mark Mr. Nelsons' first appearances with the orchestra since the October 5, 2020 announcement of a three-year extension of his contract as BSO Music Director through August 2025, with an evergreen clause in place reflecting a mutual intent for a long-term commitment well beyond the years of the new contract extension. The fifteenth music director since the orchestra's founding in 1881, Mr. Nelsons began his tenure in that role in fall 2014. His last appearance with the BSO was in January 31, 2020, when he led the orchestra in Bartók's Concerto for Orchestra, Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 24 in C minor, K.491 (with soloist Yefim Bronfman), and Ravel's Daphnis et Chloé Suite No. 2.

Formal BSO titles for conductors referenced in this release: Andris Nelsons is the Ray and Maria Stata BSO Music Director and Anna Rakitina is BSO Assistant Conductor. The director for the concert portions of the BSO NOW series is Habib Azar; click here for a recent biography.

CRB Classical 99.5 FM and www.classicalwcrb.org continue to feature encore Boston Symphony Orchestra concerts on Saturday evenings at 8 p.m. The program for Saturday, February 27 includes Music Director Andris Nelsons conducting the Symphony No. 3 by Bruckner, and former Concertmaster Malcolm Lowe and Principal Violist Steven Ansell are the soloists in Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante. This performance originally took place on April 9, 2016.


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