IN SEARCH OF A HERO:

Ludwin van Beethoven:

 

Saturday, October 29, 2016 at 8:00 p.m.
Buckley Recital Hall, Arms Music Center, Amherst College

The ASO's season of epic symphonies continues with perhaps the most influential and greatest work of its form ever penned, the Symphony #3 in E-flat major ("Eroica") by Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827).  Famously, the work was written during the period when Napoleon Bonaparte acted as First Consul of France and there was hope, despite his authoritarian rule, that he would embody the democratic values of the French Revolution.  In his idealism, Beethoven dedicated this symphony to Napoleon; but when the autocrat declared himself Emperor in 1804, Beethoven furiously withdrew his dedication, and later restyled the "Eroica" as merely memorializing "a great man."  Musically, the "Eroica" is a revolution in and of itself in form and integration, and expands the scope of the symphony well beyond the compact confines of the classical era. 

The ASO opens its concert, which also celebrates Family Weekend at Amherst College, with the equally tightly argued Piano Concerto #1 in E-flat major by Franz Liszt (1811-1886).  Typical for Liszt, the concerto exploits radical chromatic harmonies, exhilarating virtuosic displays, kaleidoscopic orchestrational colors, and ingenious thematic integration.  It makes its compelling case in four short, connected movements, and due to the unique use of the triangle in its third, scherzo-like movement, it is popular known as the "Triangle Concerto."  Gifted Amherst College senior Eugene Lee '17 is the soloist.

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