Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Beethoven: Mass in C & Piano Concerto 3

Of few composers can it be said that through them, and them alone, the art of music became completely transformed.

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) is such a composer. He represented a break with all the old concepts of what music should be and with the methods by which these concepts should be realized. Beauty of sound, balance and symmetry of structure, attractive lyricism for its own sake, even the expression of deeply felt emotion—all this is no longer that toward which Beethoven directed his means. He not only had to speak that which was in his heart; he also had to give voice to the beliefs and ideals that governed his life. He was a son of the Enlightenment. The new ideas of freedom and the rights of man sweeping across Europe, with Voltaire and Rousseau as their leading voices, sound loud and clear in Beethoven’s music. The world was aflame with the spirit of Revolution, its fires kindled in France. The “I”—the creative personality—was asserting itself more strongly than ever. “I must write,” Beethoven said, “for what weighs on my heart, I must express.” Everywhere in Europe, wherever genius spoke, such words were now being heard. 

Join the Ama Deus Ensemble at the Kimmel Center for a program of exciting, emotional and uplifting music of the master. Maestro Valentin Radu will play the Concerto No. 3 for Piano ("Empress"), the Ama Deus Ensemble orchestra and chorus will perform the wonderful Mass in C major, Op. 86 (Missa Brevis).
For Tickets

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

April E-Newsletter. Rossini & Mozart

The Mozart Requiem and the Rossini Stabat Mater are connected historically (or perhaps hysterically)…so the young Richard Wagner would have us believe!

It is no secret that Richard Wagner (1813-1883) had a rocky and unrequited relationship with the artistic high society of Paris. As a hot-headed young man in his mid to late twenties, from late 1839 to 1842, he lived in Paris in impoverished fashion. To make a living, the young, undiscovered composer wrote articles for magazines, arranged the operas of others for publication and completed his own, unperformed, third and fourth operas: Rienzi and Der fliegende Holländer.

Fast forward about seventeen years to November of 1859. We find Wagner has returned to Paris as a well-established composer. It was during this sojourn that he faced the debacle of the March 1861 performances of Tannhäuser. This infamous fiasco, which resounds throughout musical history, came at the hands (and cat-calls!) of the haughty bon vivants of the Jockey Club. Wagner had the audacity to compose a ballet to be danced in Act I of Tannhäuser; but the Jockey Clubbers demanded it be in Act II so as not to spoil their dinners—and/or assignations with the ballerinas! Wagner got his way, but the Jockey Club booed him out of the opera house and out of Paris.

Gioachino Rossini (1792-1868), on the other hand, had wonderful relationships with both the cultural elite and denizens of theatrical amphitheaters. It seems that Rossini was feted everywhere he went; his musical works were generally adored and one of his nicknames was “The Italian Mozart.”