Mahler and Beethoven are the two central figures in conductor Benjamin Zander’s musical life. Fifteen years ago the BPO devoted an entire season just to the music of Mahler, even spilling over into the first concert of the following year. Mr. Zander has not gone to such extremes with Beethoven, but for this, his 80th birthday year, he felt justified in indulging himself with at least one all-Beethoven program. These three works all come from the middle, “heroic” period of Beethoven’s output, but they couldn’t be more different. The Coriolan Overture is darkly dramatic, compressed, almost claustrophobic, one of the composer’s most unusual orchestral works. Nothing could be further from the brooding world of Coriolan than the “Emperor” Concerto, the last great, jubilant affirmation of the composer’s middle period. It's possible to play this piece to dazzling effect as a virtuoso showpiece, but its deeper recesses are only revealed by truly great musicians -- like pianist Robert Levin, who's been a major force in classical music ever since his early days as a prodigy and has spent a lifetime pondering and playing the great works. And, finally, the BPO takes on Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony – the absolutely iconic Beethoven work. Zander's revelatory account of this piece has thrilled audiences at the BPO and all over the world whenever he has conducted it, and this concert at Jordan Hall in Boston should be no different.
Jordan Hall at New England Conservatory 30 Gainsborough Street Boston, MA 02115
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