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Notes on Beethoven, Mozart & Britten

There is so much music out there that this orchestra has rarely, if ever, performed. It’s not because these pieces yet to be heard in our concert hall are any less deserving, it’s just that we often get stuck in repeating what we think are the warhorses. That is such a disservice to you and our fantastic musicians! This concert is full of this very repertoire that deserves to be heard and adored.

We begin with one of the many serenades Mozart composed during his lifetime. He wrote them for a variety of instruments and sizes of ensemble and they’re all fantastic! Think of a serenade as a symphony that has many movements. This one only uses our woodwinds and french horns and, like you still see on the streets of New Orleans, this ‘wind ensemble’ or band was the most common group you’d find in the streets of Vienna during Mozart’s day!

I’m just going to come out and tell you right now that Britten’s Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings is one of my all-time favorite pieces and has been since I was a teenager. It has all the drama of a great opera, yet it’s for such an unique group of soloists and instruments! I encourage you to follow along with the words provided in the program book. They’re unforgettable!

After intermission, you’re going to hear one of Beethoven’s perfect gems, Symphony №4. Like his seventh symphony, it is a work that is seemingly perfect in every way, no matter how you look at it or how often you hear or perform it. Yet, between the monumental third and the life-changing fifth, it’s often overlooked. I particularly love the mystery that is hidden in plain sight in the introduction of the first movement. Enjoy!

Written by

Music Director of the California Symphony and Las Vegas Philharmonic

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