Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) was already an established pianist and composer in Vienna, when in 1800 he began to notice his gradually encroaching deafness. His growing despondency with this discovery only intensified his antisocial tendencies, and, consequently, in his isolation, he turned more toward inner reflection. The first large-scale composition the composer issued as his deaf condition slowly overtook him was the Symphony No 3 in E-flat major, Op 55, 'Eroica'. With this symphony, Beethoven went beyond the stylistic Classicism of Joseph Haydn and Wolfgang Mozart to essentially personalize the symphony as a work that reflects not only outward to the public but that looks inward into the soul of the composer.
The Symphony No 3 is a milestone in the history of classical music - a defining composition that did indeed change the nature of the symphony as well as music in general. The Third is cast large in scale: The length of the symphony is approximately twice the length of a Mozart or Haydn symphony; in fact, the first movement of Beethoven's Third alone equals the length of typical symphony of the time. In place of the usual second or third movement minuet, Beethoven introduces a playful third movement scherzo to offset the somber mood set by the second movement funeral march. In the final movement, rather than the usual light and breezy finishing up of previous symphonies, Beethoven imparts a weight and seriousness to the movement that does justice to this monumental work. This finale is a lengthy set of variations on the 'Eroica' theme Beethoven had originally written for his ballet music to The Creatures of Prometheus.
Beethoven had originally dedicated the Third Symphony to Napoleon Bonaparte who he considered a man of the people and an advocate of liberty. Beethoven was not alone in his thinking as Napoleon ... (Read more)
Joseph Haydn did not invent the symphony but he was responsible for making it a major form of musical expression in the Western classical tradition. The early transformation of the lowly sinfonie or sinfonia from a minor instrumental interlude within an opera or oratorio into a larger, stand-alone composition was given impetus first by the Mannheim School of composers, under the leadership of Carl Stamitz. Stamitz himself produced a good number of three movement symphonies designed more as light entertainment along the lines of so-called table music.
Haydn's first two forays into the symphony followed the Mannheim prototype, three movements in contrasting tempos - fast, slow, fast. The Symphony No 3 in G major, however, is in four moverments, a form that became over time the standard for the typical symphony. It reflects the style and manner of Haydn's orchestral writing around the time that he took up employment as Kappelmeister with the Esterházy family, a noble, propertied clan that stretched back into the Hungarian Middle Ages. It was here on a vast estate, isolated from fellow composers and the 'new sounds' of music that Haydn honed his craft. It was here at Esterházy that he developed and expanded the simple symphony of the Mannheim school into the more complex four-movement symphony - a form that Ludwig van Beethoven, a Haydn student, would exploit and, in so doing, change the face of music forever.
Although Haydn was isolated from the contemporary stream of music that flowed through Vienna, he, nevertheless, managed to absorb the trends on his infrequent visits to Vienna. He found to his surprise that he himself was often the trendsetter in fashionable music of the day. This was particularly true in the shape of the symphony and the string quartet that Haydn evolved over the decades - to such a degree that both became preferred forms in orchestral and chamber music, respectively. Haydn's symphonies became so popular throughout Europe that each was received with the greatest of public enthusiasm. Soon, he began toget outside commissions for symphonies which he, with Esterházy approval, eagerly accepted to supplement his income. From these commissions emerged three sets of symphonies that are considered the peak of his production... (Read more)
Three German master composers share the program for the CSO's Spring Concert in Vernon Cook Theater, Clinton High School. Each composer represents a step forward in the evolution of symphonic music - Bach to Haydn to Beethoven.
Orchestral Suite (Overture) No 3 in D major, BWV1068 by Johann Sebastian Bach opens the concert. Bach died just as Franz Joseph Haydn was beginning his years as an apprentice, years that would lead him to compose the first of his hundred or so symphonies. His early Symphony No 3 in G major reflects the lingering spirit of Bach and looks forward to the dynamism that Haydn would imbue in this new form of musical expression.
Haydn's protégé Ludwig van Beethoven surprised even his mentor with the dramatic and emotional character of his Symphony No 3 in E-flat major, Op 55, Eroica. It was Beethoven who - as one early critic wrote without exaggeration - "changed music forever."
The Spring Concert is, then, a progression in the formation of the symphony from the Baroque to the Romantic.
You are invited to help the Clinton Symphony Orchestra close its 61th season on a high note and usher in its 61st year of great expectations. The evening will include a bountiful array of delicious specialty hors d'oeuvre, live and silent auction items suitable for every budget and taste, lively music, and sprightly, engaging conversation. A cash bar will be available as well.
The fee is a modest $40.00 per person or $240 per table of 8, a small charge indeed for such a unique evening of entertainment, an event many members and guests look forward to each year.
Music Director Brian Dollinger will be present to answer any questions about how he plans to organize the upcoming season. In addition, members of the CSO Board of Directors will be available to discuss the organization... (Read more)
On June 7, 2015, the CSO again offers a free public concert for the citizens of Clinton and the surrounding areas. Riverview Park along the Clinton waterfront is the site of the concert, which begins at 6:30 pm. Friends of the symphony are encouraged to attend and bring along with them their family members and neighbors.
Musical selections cover a broad range including the light classical, Broadway, television, and motion pictures genres.
Symphony @ Riverview events in previous years have been well attended by the public in the Clinton area and from surrounding counties. To some it has become an annual social musical occasion much anticipated.
Check back for more specifics as the season progresses.
The 'Eroica' Symphony of Ludwig van Beethoven has been from its premiere a work that has been much commented on by audiences, conductors, and scholars. It is a revolutionary work in the truest sense in that it did change the foremost work of any composer from light entertainment to one of profound significance. The symphony - with this one bold stroke - became the true test of a composer's skill and craftsmanship.
Following are a few sources for those who wish to explore this major work - articles, videos, etc.
The Clinton Symphony Orchestra and Amazon.com® have formed an affiliation whereby the orchestra association receives a small percentage of the sale price on any merchandise ordered from Amazon.com when Amazon.com is accessed through this link from the CSO web site. The customer... (Read More)
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