Beethoven & Goethe
Beethoven: “Choral Fantasy,” featuring Jeffrey Biegel, Piano
Beethoven: Mass in C Major
Brahms: Alto Rhapsody, based on Goethe’s poem Harzreise im Winter, featuring Emily Marvosh, Alto
February 21 – 23, 2020
True Concord Choir, Soloists, and Orchestra
UPLIFTING POWER | JOYOUS EXALTATION
Tones sound and roar and storm about me
until I have set them down in notes.
Ludwig van Beethoven
This year the world celebrates the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth — a sign of how much impact he has had on humanity. Another sign is the fact that one work, composed in 1824, is still used today across the globe as a rallying message of unity — a call to be our best selves. That work is the incomparable Ninth Symphony, and the Choral Fantasy is often considered its forerunner.
At its premiere, Beethoven himself played the piano part and the opening solo gives us an inside look at his creative improvisational style. Jeffrey Biegel will take on that role, coming off his debut with True Concord this past November with Jake Runestad’s Dreams of the Fallen.
Beethoven was at a high point of his creative genius at the time he wrote the Mass in C Major, the ambitious forerunner to Missa Solemnis.
Genius is finding the invisible link between things.
Johannes Brahms’s Alto Rhapsody, Op. 53 for contralto, male chorus and orchestra, was written as a wedding gift and unrequited love letter for Robert and Clara Schumann’s daughter, Julie.
Brahms used verses from Harzreise im Winter, a poem by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe inspired by the writer’s ascent of the Harz mountains. Goethe was a novelist, playwright, natural philosopher, scientist, artist and diplomat whose great drama, Faust, is considered to be a near-perfect commentary on the condition of modern man.
Goethe reached the summit, in deep snow, with the landscape below him shrouded in clouds. The gorgeous Alto Rhapsody teems with passion and angst, all highlighted by alto soloist Emily Marvosh.