Lahav Shani conductor, Martha Argerich pianist

מרתה ארגריך

Date

02.1.2020

Thursday 22:00

Hall

The Lowy concert hall

Venue

Charles Bronfman Auditorium, Tel Aviv

Venue

Charles Bronfman Auditorium, Tel Aviv

Hall

The Lowy concert hall

Artists

Lahav Shani, conductor 

Martha Argerich, pianist 

Tom Aharon, presenter 

Concert Program

Beethoven: Piano Concerto no. 2
Stravinsky: The Firebird

Event Info

The legendary pianist, Martha Argerich, is returning to the IPO for a series of concerts conducted by Lahav Shani, Music Director Designate of the orchestra.

1795. Vienna. The local Composers League polishes the Burgtheater in preparation for the annual fundraising concert for local musicians, their widows and their orphans. The centerpiece of the concert is a new work by the groundbreaking young composer Ludwig Van Beethoven, who will also conduct the entire concert. At the time (two days before the concert), four miserable copyists sit and receive from the feverish composer page after page of the Concerto’s finale (Rondo). They must prepare the orchestra parts overnight, and pray that the composer does not get writer’s block at the very last moment. All’s well that ends well: Beethoven and his copyists completed the task, the work was performed on time and was a great success. Up to the time of its publication it underwent a series of editing and rewriting.

If one thinks about it, nothing in the history of this Concerto is as it seems. Firstly, Beethoven’s Piano Concerto no. 2 is actually the first piano concerto written by the mature composer (the young Beethoven wrote a piano concerto in E-flat major when he was only 13!), but it was published after the C major Concerto (no. 1). The third movement that we will hear in these concerts is not the one written hastily for the premiere (the original movement was later published as Rondo in B-flat major for Piano and Orchestra).

And the second movement? In 1807 Beethoven wrote to his publisher: “As is so often the case with me, I did not write the piano part in the score (for previous performances), so you’ll have to receive it now in my illegible handwriting”. We can only assume that what we know today as the wonderful second movement is merely a “formal” version of the movement, whose piano part was improvised by Beethoven at the premiere.

Should this expedition into the work’s compositional process change the way we listen to it? Of course not. The work is written for a smaller orchestra than in Beethoven’s later piano concertos (this is the only concerto without timpani). The work may be less “dramatic” than the C major Concerto and it may contain certain elements that resemble Mozart’s style more than the mature Beethoven, who was an innovator structurally and stylistically in his last three concertos. However, Beethoven’s personal stylistic stamp is unmistakable here, in the harmonic writing, in the lyricism of the second movement, in the sophistication of the rondo theme and in the sensible organization of the last movement.

It is amazing that some of the great processes and discoveries in the history of art were coincidental, rather than pre-planned. The music of Igor Stravinsky for the ballet The Firebird signified the beginning of the remarkable collaboration with the founder and manager of the Ballets Russes, Sergei Diaghilev. It is therefore surprising that Stravinsky was not the first choice to write music for this work. In fact, the composer was not even the second or third choice of the experienced impresario. One wonders what 20th century music would have looked like if any one of the first four composers ((Nikolai Tcherepnin, Anatoly Lyadov, Alexander Glazunov or Nikolay Sokolov) would have accepted the commission instead of Stravinsky… Luckily, each of those composers rejected Diaghilev’s offer, and history books marked the first significant collaboration between Stravinsky and Diaghilev. Stravinsky began writing The Firebird in November 1909 and completed the score in May 1910. The premiere took place on 25 June 1910, at the Paris Opera. The work in these concerts will be performed in concert version, and one may ask whether the danced story line is relevant to understanding the music. Suffice it to say that in this story, based on Russian folklore, there is an evil king, who, through the power of a magic egg bewitched thirteen innocent princesses (it is well-known in folklore that the more unrealistic the story, the greater its attraction). We won’t delve into details, but in the process of releasing the princesses from the king’s spell there is a handsome prince, a magical bird and other amazing components. Stravinsky uses his expertise and skill to write music that characterizes the movements of each character (first and foremost of the enchanted bird), as well as music that accompanies the dramatic, magical and mysterious events. The magic, the conflict, the wonderful tonal colors and the enchanted melodies transport contemporary listeners to the unique world of Russian folk tales.

Text: Prof. Oded Zehavi

Price Range

160 - 440 NIS

Duration

approx 90 minutes, no intermission

Duration

approx 90 minutes, no intermission

Price range

160 - 440 NIS

Follow us