LSO extends its Beethoven symphony cycle with “Eroica” Nov. 9
By Peter Alexander Nov. 4 at 4:50 p.m.
The Longmont Symphony’s current cycle of Beethoven symphonies enters a new phase next Saturday (Nov. 9), when the full orchestra performs the popular Third Symphony, known as the “Eroica,” in Vance Brand Civic Auditorium.
The first and second symphonies were performed by the LSO’s smaller chamber orchestra in Stewart Auditorium of the Longmont Museum. The Third, however, was a breakthrough work for Beethoven and the history of the symphony. It is larger in every way than any previous symphony—longer, more intense—and as such needs a larger venue and larger performing forces.
It will be performed Saturday on a program with Shostakovich’s daunting First Cello Concerto, played by Russian-born cellist Anton Daurov. Opening the concert will be the very rarely heard Prelude in Unison from Georges Enesco’s Suite No. 1 for orchestra.
The Enesco score is, as the title says, entirely for strings in unison, with occasional punctuation from a timpani. “The Prelude in Unison is a piece that called out to me because there’s something about everyone playing in unison,” LSO conductor Elliot Moore says.
“There’s something that’s very moving about all of those string voices being one, while they’re all singing the same thing. How their voices come together is very beautiful, very moving. It’s a beautiful thing to experience.”
The Cello Concerto occupies a special place for both Moore and Daurov. Moore is a cellist as well as conductor, and both he and Daurov grew up listening to recordings of the concerto by the Russian cellist Mstislav Rostropovich, for whom it was written.
“It’s one of the pieces that made me really fall in love with classical music,” Moore says. “It’s just an incredible masterpiece for the cello.”
Daurov confirmed the concerto’s reputation as one of the most difficult pieces in the cello repertoire. “It’s emotionally as well as musically hard,” he says. “There’s a lot of work for the brain as well as the fingers.
“From the first there is not a moment to relax. Even in the slow movement it’s not like your nice and Romantic slow movement than you can just enjoy playing. You really need to build the tension throughout. It’s challenging.”
Unlike most concertos, Shostakovich’s Concerto No.. 1 has a lengthy, fully written out cadenza that leaves the soloist completely exposed. “Not many concertos have a in-written cadenza for 10 minutes in the middle of the piece,” he says.
“You sit in front of people in front of you in the hall, and 100 people behind you in the orchestra, and you have to play this really musically and emotionally challenging cadenza when you are already tired from the first two movements.”
Daurov does feel a special connection to the concerto having grown up in Russia. Like Shostakovich, he attended the St. Petersburg Conservatory. “He went up the same steps and studied in the same classrooms that I did,” he said. “The atmosphere was there and I captured the spirit of the epoch that he was in.”
Because of that connection—and how well he plays the concerto—it is a piece that Daurov is often asked to perform. “I’ve played it with many, many different orchestras,” he says. “I love playing it, I never get tired of it.”
For Moore, Beethoven’s Third Symphony represents a major turning point for the symphony in general. “The ‘Eroica,’ is so much larger than the first or second symphony, or any symphony really that came before it,” he says. “It is the work that ushered in the romantic period. It’s where he breaks new ground.
“It’s big, and I’m really thrilled with what all the musicians are bringing to this performance. I think that the orchestra is bringing a lot of heart and soul and vigor to making this performance something that really is heroic work”
“I think it’s going to be really exciting how we bring these notes off the page!”
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Longmont Symphony Orchestra, Elliot Moore, conductor
With Adrian Daurov, cello
Georges Enesco: Prelude in Unison
Shostakovich: Cello Concerto No. 1
Beethoven: Symphony No 3 (“Eroica”)
7:30 pm. Saturday, Nov. 9, Vance Brand Civic Auditorium, Longmont