February 13 – Thursday at 7:30 p.m.
February 14 – Friday at 7:00 p.m.*
February 15 – Saturday at 8:00 p.m.
February 16 – Sunday at 3:00 p.m.
INTRODUCING THE CONCERT
Ludwig & Wolfgang
While the headliners for this week’s concerts are the renowned guest artists violinist Isabelle Faust and guest conductor Philippe Herreweghe, the star of any orchestral concert is the music itself. And this week features big works by two of classical music’s greatest titans: Ludwig van Beethoven and Wolfgang A. Mozart.
First comes a brief overture penned by Beethoven as part of music to accompany a theatrical play. The stagework — and the music — is filled with passion, drama, and scene-setting.
Next (on all but Friday evening’s concert) is Beethoven’s immense — and immensely beautiful — Violin Concerto. This work is today considered among the greatest such pieces ever written. It was not always so, however, and generated puzzlement and ho-hum reactions at its premiere in 1806. Its length, which we may find heavenly today, was longer than early 19th-century expectations. Even its beguiling melodies did not ensure its success, which happened gradually over several decades, as one violinist after another found its beauty and brought it to the public’s attention again and again.
The weekend’s concerts come to an end with Mozart’s big-hearted Symphony No. 41, known in English-speaking countries by the nickname “Jupiter.” This was Mozart’s last-completed symphony. Here, in four magnificent movements, the composer shows what his idea of an ideal symphonic piece — without a storyline — could be, filled with power, variation, and contrast, and ending in a mighty fugal movement of unsurpassed force and beauty. If Mozart’s “Jupiter” Symphony from 1788 is a supreme example of music from the Classical era, its emotional sway and energy also signal the Romantic era just around the turn-of-century ahead — into which Beethoven would lead the way.