Santa Rosa Symphony celebrates Beethoven's 250th birthday

Posted by: Unknown on Wednesday, November 4, 2020 at 12:00:00 am

Santa Rosa Symphony presents an enhanced concert experience on Sunday, December 13, 2020 at 3 PM on its YouTube channel. This virtual concert, conducted by Francesco Lecce-Chong, the third in the Symphony's SRS @ Home series, features Beethoven's Third Symphony and works by Antonio Vivaldi, Ralph Vaughan Williams and Jessie Montgomery.

This concert, recorded earlier in December in Green Music Center's Weill Hall, will premiere on December 13 at 3 PM, preceded by a live pre-concert talk at 2 PM and followed by a live post-concert Q&A with Lecce-Chong—all on YouTube. All three elements of this event will be free, though donations to support the ongoing music and outreach programs of the Symphony will be gratefully received during the event.

Music Director Francesco Lecce-Chong says, "It's been such a timely pleasure to present Beethoven's early symphonies to our community and beyond. Beethoven was a revolutionary who struggled with his impending deafness as he wrote this Third Symphony. It encourages us to push past convention and limitations to create something beautiful and lasting."

Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3 was a game-changer, not just for the composer's career, but for classical music in general. Beethoven dared to introduce new, nontraditional elements, which were unappreciated by the critics of the day. After this long, unique symphony, the up-and-coming composer was branded a revolutionary.

The Symphony's December concert begins with Source Code by Jessie Montgomery, a living composer from New York, who also dares to break with convention, offering something new and thought-provoking. The Washington Post describes her works as "turbulent, wildly colorful and exploding with life." An African-American, whose own 39th birthday is days before the concert, Montgomery writes of the piece, "The first sketches of Source Code began as transcriptions of various sources from African American artists prominent during the peak of the Civil Rights era in the United States." She describes her one-movement dirge-like work as centering on a new "melody based on syntax derived from black spirituals."

Vivaldi's Concerto for Violin, Two Oboes, Two Horns and Continuo provides an excellent showpiece for pairs of orchestra members to "talk" to one another and is a vibrant example of Vivaldi's recipe for an engaging concerto.

Ralph Vaughan Williams' Fantasia on Greensleeves, arranged by Ralph Greaves, pairs Vaughan Williams' version of the timeless, ubiquitous English tune with the composer's Lovely Joan. Vaughan Williams wove Greensleeves into the music for Shakespeare's play, "The Merry Wives of Windsor," and composed the Lovely Joan for "Sir John in Love," his own opera, based on the same plot. The pairing embodies Merry Old England.

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