SMA International Symphony
By Antonio Cabrero
The joy of a Beethoven Symphony is something every orchestra lover in the world will agree upon: there is something in this music that pulls you in like no other classical music; there is such force and personality in this composition that leaves the listener surrendered but very happy to be.Concert SMA International Symphony “Beethoven and Vienna” festival in March Sat, Mar 1, 8pm Teatro Ángela Peralta 152-2200 Sat, Mar 15, 8pm San Francisco Church Sat, Mar 29, 8pm San Francisco Church 1st program: Gypsy Baron Overture – Scarlatti for Orchestra Spanish Dance #1 (De Falla) – Beethoven Second Symphony 350/250/150 pesos
The second symphony starts with an unusual 33 bars of a grand majestic introduction, also unusual are accents and sforzandos alternating with noble melodies. What is going on, we wonder. The elegant world of Vienna 200 years ago was shocked, and critics wrote: “It is a hideously writhing Dragon.” Music critics in perspective, dramatic as they were, show us the real impression of that day. One must concede the symphony is uncivilized and harsh and not made of singing tunes, even piano tunes; this music is conceived specifically for an orchestra and its potentialities; this is the way to later Beethoven, Berlioz, Richard Strauss and Stravinsky.
The second movement, pastoral and made of folkloric material, is probably the inspiration that led to the Pastoral Symphony (the sixth). Another peculiarity in this symphony is that there is no minuet, but a scherzo, for the third movement, a forceful and dynamic side-slapping dance from Austria, perfect ingredients for our “Beethoven and Vienna” Festival.
The second Symphony was written while Beethoven was staying in Heiligenstadt. Years later, after his death, his famous “Heligenstadt Testament” was found, a testimony of his despair and loneliness in becoming deaf and also of his resolve to go on. This symphony might have saved Beethoven’s life and gave humanity seven more grand symphonies with the force of Impressive Dragons. We agree with that elegant music critic of 200 years ago.