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Newmont Maestro Series

In Stillness

April 9, 2021 7:30 PM

Andrew Crust, conductor

Jane Coop, piano & leader

Pärt Fratres for String Orchestra and Percussion

Beethoven Piano Concerto No.4

Two intense characters with reputations for occupying a different plane from the mundane world. Beethoven through his deafness and intensely creative spirit. Pärt through a monastic and meditative withdrawal. Perhaps this is a source for the profound depth their music shares. Vancouver’s own Jane Coop leads from the piano for a detailed interpretation of Beethoven on the VSO’s stunning new Steinway. Associate Conductor Andrew Crust guides an ethereal interpretation of Pärt’s Fratres.

Jane Coop, piano & leader

Pianist Jane Coop, one of Canada’s most prominent and distinguished artists, was born in Saint John, New Brunswick and grew up in Calgary, Alberta. For advanced studies her principal teachers were Anton Kuerti in Toronto and Leon Fleisher in Baltimore.

At the age of nineteen she won First Prize in the CBC’s national radio competition (the Young Performers Competition), and this, along with First Prize at the Washington International Competition, launched her career. In the early years she made recital debuts at Wigmore Hall and Carnegie Recital Hall (now called Weill Hall), and gave concerto performances with the Toronto Symphony, the Calgary Philharmonic the Victoria Symphony and the CBC Vancouver Orchestra. In 1976 she was invited to tour the New England States as soloist with Mario Bernardi and the National Arts Centre Orchestra of Canada in Mozart’s Concerto in D minor, K.466.

Subsequently she has played in over twenty countries, in such eminent halls as the Bolshoi Hall in St. Petersburg, the Kennedy Center, Alice Tully Hall, Roy Thomson Hall, the Hong Kong Cultural Centre, the Beijing Concert Hall and the Salle Gaveau (Paris). In her own country she has given concerts from north to south: Whitehorse (Yukon) and Niagara Falls (ON), and from west to east: Tofino (BC) and St. John’s (Nfld) and many, many cities, towns and communities in between. She is in fact one of the few who has remained resident in Canada throughout her career.

Coop’s love of chamber music has led her to collaborate with artists from many parts of the world. Her longtime association with violinist Andrew Dawes, and her more recent partnership with cellist Antonio Lysy have given her the opportunity to delve into the sonata literature of Beethoven, a body of music to which she feels particularly drawn. Summer festivals in North America and Europe have provided venues for performances with the Manhattan, Miami, Audubon, Orford, Lafayette, Colorado, Seattle, Angeles and Pacifica String Quartets, as well as the Los Angeles Chamber Winds, York Winds, and such luminaries as Barry Tuckwell, Jamie Somerville, Martin Beaver, Jeanne Baxtrasser and Michelle Zukovsky. Coop is a cherished faculty artist at the Kneisel Hall Chamber Music Festival, the oldest chamber festival in North America. There she collaborates in performances of much of the chamber music literature for piano and strings, and coaches brilliant young musicians from across the continent.

Her commitment to teaching is centred around her long time position at the University of British Columbia’s School of Music in Vancouver, where she was a senior professor and Head of the Piano Division. In 2003 she was designated Distinguished University Scholar by the university’s president, and in 2007 she received a Killam Teaching Award. In 1992 she was the founding Artistic Director of the Young Artists’ Experience – a summer chamber music program for students from the age of 14 to 18 which took place in Whistler, BC. Its mandate was to give the young people a wide exposure to art and life, thus offering in the daily schedule yoga, composition, poetry, philosophy and visual art as well as music.

Coop’s reputation has inspired international competition organizers to invite her to judge their events over the past fifteen years. She has served on the juries of the Kapell (Maryland), Dublin, Washington DC, Hilton Head, Honens, Gina Bachauer and the New York Piano Competitions. She has also been a jury member for the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards, the Glenn Gould Prize, the Hnatyshyn Foundation Developing Artists Grants and various Canada Council grant awards. Her sixteen recordings, three of which have been nominated for Juno awards, have garnered glowing reviews and have been heard on classical radio programs in many countries.

In December 2012, Jane Coop was appointed to the Order of Canada, our country’s highest honour for lifetime achievement. She was also appointed to the Order of British Columbia in May, 2019.

Andrew Crust, conductor

Andrew Crust has developed a versatile international career as a conductor of orchestral, opera, ballet and pops programs. Currently serving as the Associate Conductor of the Vancouver Symphony in Canada, Andrew conducts a large number of subscription, pops, educational and contemporary concerts with the VSO each season. Andrew is the newly-appointed Music Director of the Lima Symphony Orchestra beginning in the 20/21, where he programs and conducts the Grand Classics, Pops and Educational series, featuring such soloists as Awadagin Pratt, Amit Peled and Kathrine Jolly.

In the current and upcoming seasons Andrew will debut with the Arkansas and Vermont Symphonies as Music Director finalist, and with the San Diego Symphony and Calgary Philharmonic as a guest conductor. Other recent engagements include performances with the Winnipeg Symphony, Memphis Symphony, Hartford Symphony, Bozeman Symphony and l’Orchestre de la Francophonie in Québec.

Andrew is a 2020 winner of the Solti Foundation US Career Assistance Award. In 2017 he was awarded first prize at the Accademia Chigiana by Daniele Gatti, receiving a scholarship and an invitation to guest conduct the Orchestra di Sanremo in Italy. He was a semi-finalist for the Nestlé/Salzburg Festival’s Young Conductors Award competition, and was selected by members of the Vienna Philharmonic as a winner of the Ansbacher Fellowship, with full access to all rehearsals and performances of the Salzburg Festival.

Andrew is equally at ease in the pit, having conducted ballet with Ballet Memphis and the New Ballet Ensemble, and opera with Opera McGill, College Light Opera Company, Boulder Opera Company, and others. As a Pops conductor, Andrew has collaborated with such artists as Rufus Wainwright, Steven Page, Michael Bolton, Cirque de la Symphonie, and the United States Jazz Ambassadors. Andrew has also established himself as a conductor of films with orchestra.

Andrew served as Assistant Conductor of the Memphis Symphony Orchestra from 2017-2019 where he conducted around forty concerts each season. He stepped in last minute for a successful subscription performance featuring Bernstein’s Serenade with violinist Charles Yang. Andrew also served as Conductor of the Memphis Youth Symphony Program. As the Assistant Conductor of the Portland Symphony Orchestra in Maine from 2016-2018, he conducted a variety of concert series, helped coordinate the orchestra’s extensive educational programs, and helped lead a program for concertgoers under 40 called “Symphony and Spirits”.

Crust was the Assistant Conductor of the National Youth Orchestra of the USA (NYO-USA) in the summers of 2017 and 2018, assisting Michael Tilson Thomas on an Asian tour, as well as Giancarlo Guerrero, Marin Alsop and James Ross at Carnegie Hall and in a side-by-side performance with the Philadelphia Orchestra. He has also served as Cover Conductor of the Kansas City Symphony, San Diego Symphony and Nashville Symphony, Assistant/Cover Conductor of the Boulder Philharmonic and Assistant Conductor of Opera McGill.

Abroad, he has led concerts with the Orchestra Giovanile Italiana in Italy, Hamburger Symphoniker at the Mendelssohn Festival in Germany, the Moravian Philharmonic in the Czech Republic and the Orquesta Sinfónica de Chile in Santiago.

As an arranger/orchestrator, Andrew is currently working with Schirmer to make orchestrations of a set of Florence Price’s art songs, has orchestrated works by Alma Mahler and Prokofiev, as well as many pops and educational selections.

Andrew is dedicated to exploring new ways of bringing the classical music experience into the 21st century through innovative programming and marketing, creating community-oriented and socially-sensitive concert experiences, and utilizing social media and unique venues. Andrew is a firm believer in meaningful music education, having produced and written a number of original educational programs with orchestras.

At first glance, a pairing of works by Beethoven and Pärt might be viewed as an unusual combination. However, both composers were revolutionary in their own way. Beethoven brought the symphonic form to something monumental in tone and spirit. He cared less about what people wanted to hear and more about having them listen to what he had to say! Is it any wonder that it was Beethoven’s music that was performed to celebrate the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.

For many people, that event marked an end to the Soviet Era. But twenty years earlier, the Estonian-born composer Arvo Pärt stepped away from writing the kind of Soviet avant-garde works that pleased his political masters. In defiance, he went silent, turning toward his Orthodox Christian faith and musical styles of the distant past for inspiration. The music that eventually emerged from Pärt’s pen made him the most frequently performed contemporary composer. In 1989 he witnessed the fall of the Berlin Wall on television from his adopted home and completed his Berliner Messe as his personal commemoration. His 1977 work, Fratres (Latin for “brothers”) played an important part in his discovery by audiences outside the Soviet bloc.

Arvo Pärt

b. September 11, 1935 / Paide, Estonia

Fratres, for string orchestra and percussion

“The highest virtue of music, for me, lies outside of its mere sound. The particular timbre of an instrument is part of the music, but it is not the most important element. If it were, I would be surrendering to the essence of the music. Music must exist of itself … two, three notes … the essence must be there, independent of the instruments.”  - Arvo Pärt

That thought has been an underlying principle of the personal musical style that Arvo Pärt developed in the mid 1970s. Pärt’s exploration of early musical forms such as Gregorian chant and 13th century polyphony developed into a hypnotic, meditative style that serves as an antidote to 20th century musical trappings. He labelled it as Tintinnabuli - “Little Bells” – a reference to bell-like resonances that are sounded around a home pitch while slowly evolving patterns generate a melodic phrase.

Fratres began as a three -voiced score without any specific instrumentation. Above a constant drone, three voices move together in a pattern that is repeated nine times. The outer voices stay equidistant from each other, while the inner voice shifts its position, implying a kind of modal harmony - sometime major and sometimes minor. The cycles are punctuated by a moment of relief or refuge, in which a low drum or the percussive sound of wood on wood cues the beginning of the next cycle. Its genius lies in its mathematical simplicity, alongside its hypnotic charm. After the work was introduced in 1977, Pärt created or authorized more than a dozen arrangements or elaborations. The present version for string orchestra and percussion (claves plus bass drum or tom-tom) was premiered in 1983, three years after Pärt relocated first to Vienna, and subsequently Berlin. Audiences have been entranced by its stillness ever since.

Ludwig van Beethoven

b. December 17, 1770 / Bonn, Germany

d. March 26, 1827 / Vienna, Austria

Piano Concerto No. 4 in G Major, Op. 58

(arr. Jane Coop)

At the time of its unveiling, Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 certainly broke the mould. The Viennese audience may have been trained to expect a long orchestral introduction, followed by a flourish from the soloist and a radiant, virtuosic entrance. But here, out of the stillness, it is the soloist, not the orchestra, that makes the poetic opening statement. So begins as genial and gentle a concerto as you might encounter. The middle movement has been likened to a dialogue between orchestra and soloist. Following each forceful question from the strings, the piano responds gently, echoing the Biblical proverb “a soft word turns away wrath.” In the lighthearted rondo that follows immediately, any sense of opposing forces is dispelled with a “happily ever after” conclusion.

Beethoven wrote the piano concerto in 1805 and 1806, a period that also saw the birth of his Violin Concerto and Symphony No. 4. He was the soloist at its first performance, a private affair in the home of his friend and patron, Prince Joseph Franz von Lobkowitz. Beethoven recognized the generosity of his patron by dedicating numerous works in his honour, including the Symphonies No. 3, 5 and 6, the “Triple Concerto” and the String Quartets comprising his Opp. 18 and 74.

If the concerto’s premiere was met with polite applause, it first public performance was a bit of a shambles. It was wedged into a marathon concert on December 22, 1808 at which Beethoven programmed the concerto along with his Fifth and Sixth Symphonies, three movements from his Mass in C, a Fantasia for solo piano, a concert aria, and the Choral Fantasia. Beethoven’s over-enthusiasm at the keyboard caused him to knock over the candles on the piano (as well as a boy trying to protect them from the soloist’s flying hands). The music writer Johann Friedrich Reichardt said of the event, “There we continued, in the bitterest cold, too, from half past six to half past ten, and experienced the truth that one can easily have too much of a good thing….”. It was only following Beethoven’s death, and Mendelssohn’s championing of the work, that the Piano Concerto No. 4 found a place in the standard repertoire.

In the era when a “home entertainment system” comprised a piano in the drawing room and a handful of friends with fiddles, there was high demand for chamber reductions of scores by the great masters. In 1881, the Bavarian composer Vinzenz Lachner provided a popular edition of the present concerto for piano and string quintet, but in retrospect it falls short of expectations. Thanks to soloist Jane Coop, the present arrangement for string quintet, wind quintet, and piano provides a richer and more nuanced musical palette – eminently suitable for a socially distanced setting!

Notes: Matthew Baird

Series Performances

This is some text inside of a div block.
Pictures at an Exhibition
This is some text inside of a div block.
Sturm und Drang: Haydn, Butler & Mozetich
This is some text inside of a div block.
Viennese Reflections
This is some text inside of a div block.
In Stillness
More series performances to be announced.
Donate

STREAMING IN:

00
DAYS
00
HOURS
00
MIN
00
SEC
Some web browsers automatically mute video players. If you do not hear audio during the performance try adjusting the volume in the video player.

STREAMING IN:

00
DAYS
00
HOURS
00
MIN
00
SEC
Some web browsers automatically mute video players. If you do not hear audio during the performance try adjusting the volume in the video player.
Subscribe Now
Subscribe now to make sure you have access to complete performances as they are released
Subscribe Now
Subscribe now to make sure you have access to complete performances as they are released

Newmont Maestro Series

In Stillness

April 9, 2021 7:30 PM

Andrew Crust, conductor

Jane Coop, piano & leader

Pärt Fratres for String Orchestra and Percussion

Beethoven Piano Concerto No.4

Two intense characters with reputations for occupying a different plane from the mundane world. Beethoven through his deafness and intensely creative spirit. Pärt through a monastic and meditative withdrawal. Perhaps this is a source for the profound depth their music shares. Vancouver’s own Jane Coop leads from the piano for a detailed interpretation of Beethoven on the VSO’s stunning new Steinway. Associate Conductor Andrew Crust guides an ethereal interpretation of Pärt’s Fratres.

Jane Coop, piano & leader

Pianist Jane Coop, one of Canada’s most prominent and distinguished artists, was born in Saint John, New Brunswick and grew up in Calgary, Alberta. For advanced studies her principal teachers were Anton Kuerti in Toronto and Leon Fleisher in Baltimore.

At the age of nineteen she won First Prize in the CBC’s national radio competition (the Young Performers Competition), and this, along with First Prize at the Washington International Competition, launched her career. In the early years she made recital debuts at Wigmore Hall and Carnegie Recital Hall (now called Weill Hall), and gave concerto performances with the Toronto Symphony, the Calgary Philharmonic the Victoria Symphony and the CBC Vancouver Orchestra. In 1976 she was invited to tour the New England States as soloist with Mario Bernardi and the National Arts Centre Orchestra of Canada in Mozart’s Concerto in D minor, K.466.

Subsequently she has played in over twenty countries, in such eminent halls as the Bolshoi Hall in St. Petersburg, the Kennedy Center, Alice Tully Hall, Roy Thomson Hall, the Hong Kong Cultural Centre, the Beijing Concert Hall and the Salle Gaveau (Paris). In her own country she has given concerts from north to south: Whitehorse (Yukon) and Niagara Falls (ON), and from west to east: Tofino (BC) and St. John’s (Nfld) and many, many cities, towns and communities in between. She is in fact one of the few who has remained resident in Canada throughout her career.

Coop’s love of chamber music has led her to collaborate with artists from many parts of the world. Her longtime association with violinist Andrew Dawes, and her more recent partnership with cellist Antonio Lysy have given her the opportunity to delve into the sonata literature of Beethoven, a body of music to which she feels particularly drawn. Summer festivals in North America and Europe have provided venues for performances with the Manhattan, Miami, Audubon, Orford, Lafayette, Colorado, Seattle, Angeles and Pacifica String Quartets, as well as the Los Angeles Chamber Winds, York Winds, and such luminaries as Barry Tuckwell, Jamie Somerville, Martin Beaver, Jeanne Baxtrasser and Michelle Zukovsky. Coop is a cherished faculty artist at the Kneisel Hall Chamber Music Festival, the oldest chamber festival in North America. There she collaborates in performances of much of the chamber music literature for piano and strings, and coaches brilliant young musicians from across the continent.

Her commitment to teaching is centred around her long time position at the University of British Columbia’s School of Music in Vancouver, where she was a senior professor and Head of the Piano Division. In 2003 she was designated Distinguished University Scholar by the university’s president, and in 2007 she received a Killam Teaching Award. In 1992 she was the founding Artistic Director of the Young Artists’ Experience – a summer chamber music program for students from the age of 14 to 18 which took place in Whistler, BC. Its mandate was to give the young people a wide exposure to art and life, thus offering in the daily schedule yoga, composition, poetry, philosophy and visual art as well as music.

Coop’s reputation has inspired international competition organizers to invite her to judge their events over the past fifteen years. She has served on the juries of the Kapell (Maryland), Dublin, Washington DC, Hilton Head, Honens, Gina Bachauer and the New York Piano Competitions. She has also been a jury member for the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards, the Glenn Gould Prize, the Hnatyshyn Foundation Developing Artists Grants and various Canada Council grant awards. Her sixteen recordings, three of which have been nominated for Juno awards, have garnered glowing reviews and have been heard on classical radio programs in many countries.

In December 2012, Jane Coop was appointed to the Order of Canada, our country’s highest honour for lifetime achievement. She was also appointed to the Order of British Columbia in May, 2019.

Andrew Crust, conductor

Andrew Crust has developed a versatile international career as a conductor of orchestral, opera, ballet and pops programs. Currently serving as the Associate Conductor of the Vancouver Symphony in Canada, Andrew conducts a large number of subscription, pops, educational and contemporary concerts with the VSO each season. Andrew is the newly-appointed Music Director of the Lima Symphony Orchestra beginning in the 20/21, where he programs and conducts the Grand Classics, Pops and Educational series, featuring such soloists as Awadagin Pratt, Amit Peled and Kathrine Jolly.

In the current and upcoming seasons Andrew will debut with the Arkansas and Vermont Symphonies as Music Director finalist, and with the San Diego Symphony and Calgary Philharmonic as a guest conductor. Other recent engagements include performances with the Winnipeg Symphony, Memphis Symphony, Hartford Symphony, Bozeman Symphony and l’Orchestre de la Francophonie in Québec.

Andrew is a 2020 winner of the Solti Foundation US Career Assistance Award. In 2017 he was awarded first prize at the Accademia Chigiana by Daniele Gatti, receiving a scholarship and an invitation to guest conduct the Orchestra di Sanremo in Italy. He was a semi-finalist for the Nestlé/Salzburg Festival’s Young Conductors Award competition, and was selected by members of the Vienna Philharmonic as a winner of the Ansbacher Fellowship, with full access to all rehearsals and performances of the Salzburg Festival.

Andrew is equally at ease in the pit, having conducted ballet with Ballet Memphis and the New Ballet Ensemble, and opera with Opera McGill, College Light Opera Company, Boulder Opera Company, and others. As a Pops conductor, Andrew has collaborated with such artists as Rufus Wainwright, Steven Page, Michael Bolton, Cirque de la Symphonie, and the United States Jazz Ambassadors. Andrew has also established himself as a conductor of films with orchestra.

Andrew served as Assistant Conductor of the Memphis Symphony Orchestra from 2017-2019 where he conducted around forty concerts each season. He stepped in last minute for a successful subscription performance featuring Bernstein’s Serenade with violinist Charles Yang. Andrew also served as Conductor of the Memphis Youth Symphony Program. As the Assistant Conductor of the Portland Symphony Orchestra in Maine from 2016-2018, he conducted a variety of concert series, helped coordinate the orchestra’s extensive educational programs, and helped lead a program for concertgoers under 40 called “Symphony and Spirits”.

Crust was the Assistant Conductor of the National Youth Orchestra of the USA (NYO-USA) in the summers of 2017 and 2018, assisting Michael Tilson Thomas on an Asian tour, as well as Giancarlo Guerrero, Marin Alsop and James Ross at Carnegie Hall and in a side-by-side performance with the Philadelphia Orchestra. He has also served as Cover Conductor of the Kansas City Symphony, San Diego Symphony and Nashville Symphony, Assistant/Cover Conductor of the Boulder Philharmonic and Assistant Conductor of Opera McGill.

Abroad, he has led concerts with the Orchestra Giovanile Italiana in Italy, Hamburger Symphoniker at the Mendelssohn Festival in Germany, the Moravian Philharmonic in the Czech Republic and the Orquesta Sinfónica de Chile in Santiago.

As an arranger/orchestrator, Andrew is currently working with Schirmer to make orchestrations of a set of Florence Price’s art songs, has orchestrated works by Alma Mahler and Prokofiev, as well as many pops and educational selections.

Andrew is dedicated to exploring new ways of bringing the classical music experience into the 21st century through innovative programming and marketing, creating community-oriented and socially-sensitive concert experiences, and utilizing social media and unique venues. Andrew is a firm believer in meaningful music education, having produced and written a number of original educational programs with orchestras.

At first glance, a pairing of works by Beethoven and Pärt might be viewed as an unusual combination. However, both composers were revolutionary in their own way. Beethoven brought the symphonic form to something monumental in tone and spirit. He cared less about what people wanted to hear and more about having them listen to what he had to say! Is it any wonder that it was Beethoven’s music that was performed to celebrate the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.

For many people, that event marked an end to the Soviet Era. But twenty years earlier, the Estonian-born composer Arvo Pärt stepped away from writing the kind of Soviet avant-garde works that pleased his political masters. In defiance, he went silent, turning toward his Orthodox Christian faith and musical styles of the distant past for inspiration. The music that eventually emerged from Pärt’s pen made him the most frequently performed contemporary composer. In 1989 he witnessed the fall of the Berlin Wall on television from his adopted home and completed his Berliner Messe as his personal commemoration. His 1977 work, Fratres (Latin for “brothers”) played an important part in his discovery by audiences outside the Soviet bloc.

Arvo Pärt

b. September 11, 1935 / Paide, Estonia

Fratres, for string orchestra and percussion

“The highest virtue of music, for me, lies outside of its mere sound. The particular timbre of an instrument is part of the music, but it is not the most important element. If it were, I would be surrendering to the essence of the music. Music must exist of itself … two, three notes … the essence must be there, independent of the instruments.”  - Arvo Pärt

That thought has been an underlying principle of the personal musical style that Arvo Pärt developed in the mid 1970s. Pärt’s exploration of early musical forms such as Gregorian chant and 13th century polyphony developed into a hypnotic, meditative style that serves as an antidote to 20th century musical trappings. He labelled it as Tintinnabuli - “Little Bells” – a reference to bell-like resonances that are sounded around a home pitch while slowly evolving patterns generate a melodic phrase.

Fratres began as a three -voiced score without any specific instrumentation. Above a constant drone, three voices move together in a pattern that is repeated nine times. The outer voices stay equidistant from each other, while the inner voice shifts its position, implying a kind of modal harmony - sometime major and sometimes minor. The cycles are punctuated by a moment of relief or refuge, in which a low drum or the percussive sound of wood on wood cues the beginning of the next cycle. Its genius lies in its mathematical simplicity, alongside its hypnotic charm. After the work was introduced in 1977, Pärt created or authorized more than a dozen arrangements or elaborations. The present version for string orchestra and percussion (claves plus bass drum or tom-tom) was premiered in 1983, three years after Pärt relocated first to Vienna, and subsequently Berlin. Audiences have been entranced by its stillness ever since.

Ludwig van Beethoven

b. December 17, 1770 / Bonn, Germany

d. March 26, 1827 / Vienna, Austria

Piano Concerto No. 4 in G Major, Op. 58

(arr. Jane Coop)

At the time of its unveiling, Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 certainly broke the mould. The Viennese audience may have been trained to expect a long orchestral introduction, followed by a flourish from the soloist and a radiant, virtuosic entrance. But here, out of the stillness, it is the soloist, not the orchestra, that makes the poetic opening statement. So begins as genial and gentle a concerto as you might encounter. The middle movement has been likened to a dialogue between orchestra and soloist. Following each forceful question from the strings, the piano responds gently, echoing the Biblical proverb “a soft word turns away wrath.” In the lighthearted rondo that follows immediately, any sense of opposing forces is dispelled with a “happily ever after” conclusion.

Beethoven wrote the piano concerto in 1805 and 1806, a period that also saw the birth of his Violin Concerto and Symphony No. 4. He was the soloist at its first performance, a private affair in the home of his friend and patron, Prince Joseph Franz von Lobkowitz. Beethoven recognized the generosity of his patron by dedicating numerous works in his honour, including the Symphonies No. 3, 5 and 6, the “Triple Concerto” and the String Quartets comprising his Opp. 18 and 74.

If the concerto’s premiere was met with polite applause, it first public performance was a bit of a shambles. It was wedged into a marathon concert on December 22, 1808 at which Beethoven programmed the concerto along with his Fifth and Sixth Symphonies, three movements from his Mass in C, a Fantasia for solo piano, a concert aria, and the Choral Fantasia. Beethoven’s over-enthusiasm at the keyboard caused him to knock over the candles on the piano (as well as a boy trying to protect them from the soloist’s flying hands). The music writer Johann Friedrich Reichardt said of the event, “There we continued, in the bitterest cold, too, from half past six to half past ten, and experienced the truth that one can easily have too much of a good thing….”. It was only following Beethoven’s death, and Mendelssohn’s championing of the work, that the Piano Concerto No. 4 found a place in the standard repertoire.

In the era when a “home entertainment system” comprised a piano in the drawing room and a handful of friends with fiddles, there was high demand for chamber reductions of scores by the great masters. In 1881, the Bavarian composer Vinzenz Lachner provided a popular edition of the present concerto for piano and string quintet, but in retrospect it falls short of expectations. Thanks to soloist Jane Coop, the present arrangement for string quintet, wind quintet, and piano provides a richer and more nuanced musical palette – eminently suitable for a socially distanced setting!

Notes: Matthew Baird

Series Performances

This is some text inside of a div block.
Pictures at an Exhibition
This is some text inside of a div block.
Sturm und Drang: Haydn, Butler & Mozetich
This is some text inside of a div block.
Viennese Reflections
This is some text inside of a div block.
In Stillness
More series performances to be announced.
Donate