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eethoven’s Coriolan

Youth Orchestra in Concert at Bellas Artes

By Tim Hazell

Pro Musica’s thirty-member Youth Chamber Orchestra will perform at the historic Bellas Artes patio on Sunday, August 5 at 12pm. The event is part of their ongoing commitment to bring classical music to people of all ages in a beautiful setting. Concerts are frequently attended by over 300 music lovers, including families who bring their children along. These recitals are becoming a wonderful way to begin a leisurely Sunday afternoon in San Miguel!

The concert will open with an introduction by its excellent Fermata wind ensemble, featuring Guiseppi Gambini’s “Quintet No. 1 in B minor.” The full orchestra will then perform selections from Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, Holst, Sibelius and Shostakovich, whose opus Waltz No 2 will be presented as a new work, along with Beethoven’s Coriolan Overture in C minor, Opus 62.

It has been stated that Beethoven, one of the greatest composers of dramatic abstract music, was never completely at home writing for the stage. He had no difficulty in composing a purely abstract overture, but beyond this point, his powers may have eluded him. Today, we infrequently hear his only opera, Fidelio, or the music for the ballet Creatures of Prometheus, stage plays King Stephen or The Ruins of Athens. Overtures such as the Egmont and Coriolan, however, have become staples of the orchestral repertoire and examples of some of Beethoven’s best dramatic music.

It appears that drama doesn’t always conveniently follow the curve of a sonata. Mozart was able to modify the form through the subtle use of modulations to convey the stage tension accurately while maintaining a satisfying musical statement. Beethoven, despite his great powers as a composer, may never have been comfortable envisioning his abstract instrumental inspirations taking a subservient role to the action on the stage, hence his difficulties as a stage composer.

It is not known if Beethoven wrote the Coriolan overture for an actual performance of the five-act tragedy or simply because he was inspired by it. The work comes from a particularly fertile year, 1807, between the composition of the Symphonies No 4 and No 5. The powerful chords that begin the work are followed by an agitated theme in C minor and a lyrical one in E-flat major. Tension is maintained near the end by bringing back the opening theme in F minor instead of C minor and then following it with a dramatic coda that gets continuously softer and more fragmented.

The Youth Chamber Orchestra is presenting the “Music For Everyone” Sunday concert series for the remainder of 2018. Comfortable seating is provided for the audience. There is no charge, but donations are welcome. This exciting event on Sunday, August 5 will attract returning aficionados and new audience members alike. Come early for a ringside seat!



“Music For Everyone” series

Youth Chamber Orchestra

Sun, Aug 5, 12pm

Bellas Artes

Hernández Macías 75, Centro



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