December 12, 2003
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Portland, Ore. … A month-long Beethoven Festival featuring concerts on several Oregon Symphony series including performances of the composer’s immortal Symphonies No. 5 in C minor and the Symphony No. 9, “Choral,” with Music Director Carlos Kalmar, will begin Jan. 30 with the Front Row Center’s “Beethoven the Revolutionary” concert and continue through a March 7 Sundays at Two concert featuring the “Creatures of Prometheus” overture. The Beethoven Festival also will include a live performance of the popular children’s story, “Beethoven Lives Upstairs,” on the Kids Concert series and a Chamber Music on Tap performance by The Four Violas.
Under Kalmar’s baton, the Symphony’s performance of Beethoven’s two most famous symphonies, and arguably two of the most familiar symphonies of all time, continues to showcase Kalmar’s precise, creative and sophisticated interpretation of Classical repertoire. The Symphony No. 5 is the highlight of an all-Beethoven Classical Series concert on Feb. 21, 22 and 23, which also features Beethoven’s complete incidental music to Goethe’s play, “Egmont,” of which the best-known music is Beethoven’s Overture, a mainstay of symphonic concert programming. As the orchestra performs the music from “Egmont,” an actor will narrate the action of the play and bring it to life. As part of all his Classical Series appearances with the Symphony this season, Kalmar continues his yearlong commitment to reach out to audiences and will be available to sign programs in the lobby after each performance; he will also give the pre-concert lecture with KBPS host Shaun Yu before each performance.
On Feb. 28, 29 and March 1 Kalmar, the Symphony and the Portland Symphonic Choir will present Beethoven’s triumphant salute to the human spirit, the Symphony No. 9, also known as the “Choral” symphony for its inclusion of a chorus singing the stirring words of Schiller’s poem “Ode to Joy” in the last movement. By the time of its premiere Beethoven was too deaf to conduct the work but sat with the orchestra on stage, unable to hear the wild cheering of the audience upon the Symphony’s triumphant conclusion. “It’s a very special program,” says Kalmar.
People less familiar with Beethoven’s music and life can begin their musical explorations with a special Front Row Center concert on Jan. 30, “Beethoven the Revolutionary,” with guest conductor David Alan Miller. This concert presents two different aspects of Beethoven’s personality: the rebellious revolutionary who transformed musical form and style and the introspective humanist who used lyricism to celebrate the human soul through his music.
Kids and their parents can experience the essence of Beethoven in the final Kids Concert of the season on Feb. 15, a live presentation of the award-winning Classical Kids video and CD “Beethoven Lives Upstairs.” The story is told through a young boy, whose world turns upside down when the moody and unpredictable Beethoven rents the apartment upstairs. The concert will feature actors portraying Beethoven and the young boy, and, through excerpts from his most famous works, will introduce audience members of all ages to Beethoven’s life and music.
A more casual look at Beethoven is scheduled at the February Chamber Music On Tap performance by The Four Violas on Feb. 18. The performance will include a special arrangement of the first movement of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony “as only violas can do it,” according to Principal Violist Joël Belgique.
The Beethoven Festival concludes on March 7 with the final Sundays at Two concert featuring guest conductor Marc Taddei conducting Beethoven’s “Creatures of Prometheus” Overture. This music was originally written for a ballet, “The Creatures of Prometheus,” which premiered in 1801 and for Beethoven was also an homage to Napoleon, whose heroic exploits mirrored those of the Greek mythological figure of Prometheus, who braved the wrath of the gods and stole fire from Mt. Olympus to give light and warmth to all humanity.
Tickets for all the Beethoven Festival concerts may be purchased at the Oregon Symphony Ticket Office (923 S.W. Washington), Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. or charged by phone at 503-228-1353 or (800) 228-7343. Tickets also may be purchased at all Ticketmaster outlets (503-790-ARTS) or through Ticketmaster Online, via the Symphony’s Web site at www.orsymphony.org. Service fees may apply.