Friday, July 25, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Philharmonia Baroque presents all-Beethoven concert

By
From page A9 | November 06, 2012 |

That’s the ticket

Who: Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, with pianist Emanuel Ax

When: 8 p.m. Wednesday (with a pre-performance talk at 7 p.m. by Nicholas McGegan, conductor)

Where: Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts

Tickets: $45-$93 general, $22.50-$46.50 students; www.mondaviarts.org, 530-754-2787

Curious to hear Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto and Fourth Symphony on the sort of instruments that were used during the composer’s lifetime?

Then you may want to check out Wednesday’s 8 p.m. concert at the Mondavi Center by the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra — the noted period instrument ensemble from the Bay Area — with highly regarded pianist Emanuel Ax joining in as the soloist on a fortepiano.

Ax has performed at the Mondavi Center before (most recently in December 2009), but always on a modern piano, which is much louder and more powerful than the keyboard instruments available in Beethoven’s time.

“Beethoven’s piano was a lot smaller and a lot lighter in sound,” explained Nicholas McGegan, conductor of Philharmonia Baroque, in a phone interview two weeks ago. “So there isn’t going to be that sense like there is in a Tchaikovsky piano concerto, that you have the whole orchestra versus the piano.

“(In a piece like the Beethoven Fourth Piano Concerto, with a fortepiano) everybody’s playing together. It’s got a chamber music feel to it, which is terrific. And Beethoven was particularly delicate when he was scoring this concerto, you don’t have to bash the piano to be heard.”

Asked to describe the sound of a fortepiano, McGegan said, “It’s got a silvery tone. It is not as brilliant as a modern piano. If you wanted to describe it in terms of a comparison with light, a fortepiano is more like candlelight, and a modern piano is more like neon.  The fortepiano has a delicate, soft and rather romantic sound, rather than brilliant, bright color,” McGegan said.

“And since Beethoven was always pushing the limits of any instrument, he pushed the limits of how delicate it can sound in this concerto. In the slow movement, which is really like an aria and recitative, it’s rather operatic. It’s the same sort of delicacy you find in Chopin’s Nocturnes, which were written (for the piano) not much later,” McGegan said.

“This is also the last of his piano concertos that Beethoven played in concert himself,” McGegan added. (The composer was going deaf, and did not perform his fifth and final piano concerto, turning it over to another pianist.) “This is also one of the Beethoven concertos that Philharmonia Baroque hasn’t done before.”

It also will be the first time that McGegan has worked with Ax. “I’m looking forward to meeting him,” McGegan said, adding that Peter Pastreich, former executive director of the San Francisco Symphony, had helped connect Ax with Philharmonia Baroque.

Since the 1990s, Ax has become more and more interested in performing 19th century concertos on pianos from that period. Working with the late conductor Charles MacKerras and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, a period instrument group, Ax recorded the two Chopin piano concertos on a restored Érard piano from the mid-1800s. Ax discovered the sound was quite a contrast to the recordings he made in the 1970s and ’80s of those same works on a modern concert grand, in conjunction with the late conductor Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra.

McGegan said he’s also looking forward to conducting the Beethoven Fourth Symphony.

“It’s one that some people skip over; they go from the ‘Eroica’ (Third) straight to the Fifth. And they forget how original the Fourth is. It has an incredibly long, slow introduction, but it’s the slow movement that is really the core of the work — the longest movement he wrote in any of his symphonies, until he got to the Ninth.

“It’s a big, full Adagio, incredibly well thought out, a deeply moving piece. And it’s got all that good humor like you find in the late Haydn symphonie. But with Beethoven, it’s a bit rougher. It’s like playing with a bear cub — it might bite.”

Rounding out the program will be Beethoven’s “Twelve Contredanses for Orchestra,” a relatively obscure piece that McGegan described as “music that is rarely performed, but it’s by a very famous composer. It is a bit of fun, music to be danced, not grand concert music. But one dance is a tune that eventually became the well-known theme of the last movement of his Third Symphony. I hope people will be intrigued.”

Tickets for are $45-$93 general, $22.50-$46.50 students, available at www.mondaviarts.org or by calling 530-754-2787. McGegan will give a pre-performance talk at 7 p.m. discussing the music on the program, and given McGegan’s way with words, that talk should be almost as much fun as the concert itself.

— Reach Jeff Hudson at jhudson@davisenterprise.net or 530-747-8055.

Comments

comments

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    Tech Trekkers boldly go into STEM fields

    By Amy Jiang | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Decoding breast milk secrets reveals clues to lasting health

    By Pat Bailey | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    California climate change policies to hit our pocketbooks

    By San Francisco Chronicle | From Page: A1

     
    Davis braces for six days of scorching heat

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Appeals court upholds high-speed rail route

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2, 1 Comment

     
    Carwash raises funds for funeral expenses

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

     
    Unitarians will host summer camp

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Artists, photographers invited to support Yolo Basin Foundation

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    Sudwerk’s sales grow, floating on a sea of dry hop lager

    By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A4 | Gallery

     
    Wetlands visitors will see migrating shorebirds

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6 | Gallery

    ‘Bak2Sac’ free train ride program launched

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

     
    Explorit: Wonderful wetlands right at home

    By Lisa Justice | From Page: A8 | Gallery

    Recycle old paint cans for free

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

     
    Where your gas money goes

    By San Francisco Chronicle | From Page: A12

    Americans, internationals make connections

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A16

     
    Can you give them a home?

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A16 | Gallery

    STEAC needs donations of personal care items

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A16, 1 Comment

     
    .

    Forum

    Trio disagrees on best option

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

    Predicting climate changes

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10, 1 Comment

     
    Clinton’s book is worth a read

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10, 3 Comments

    Thanks for emergency help

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    Commenting system to change

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10, 31 Comments

     
    Support these local restaurants

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    Let’s get the bench repaired

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    .

    Sports

    Petrovic, Putnam share Canadian Open lead

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Moss powers A’s past Astros

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Enriquez brilliant, but Post 77 season ends with Area 1 loss

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Hudson solid, Hamels better in Giants’ loss

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    The un-Armstrong? Tour ‘boss’ Nibali wins Stage 18

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    ‘A Most Wanted Man’: Superb espionage drama

    By Derrick Bang | From Page: A9 | Gallery

     
    Clyde Elmore: Art in the Wild

    By Evan Arnold-Gordon | From Page: A9 | Gallery

    Musicians perform at Sunday service

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A17 | Gallery

     
    .

    Business

    Accord’s latest model is most fuel efficient

    By Ann M. Job | From Page: B3 | Gallery

     
     
    .

    Obituaries

    James Thomas Feather

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Mary Lita Bowen

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Richard ‘Dick’ Robenalt

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

     
    .

    Comics

    Comics: Friday, July 25, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: A13

     
    .

    Real Estate Review

    Featured Listing

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER1

    Professional Services Directory

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER2

    Remax

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER3

    Sherman Home

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER4

    Tracy Harris

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER4

    Vaughan Brookshaw

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER4

    Lyon Real Estate

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER4

    Julie Leonard

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER5

    Ciana Wallace

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER6

    Melrina A Maggiora

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER7

    Joe Kaplan

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER7

    Jo Vallejo

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER8

    Karen Waggoner

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER9

    Jamie Madison

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER9

    Malek Baroody

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER10

    Carol Coder

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER11

    Diane Lardelli

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER11

    Jason Sull

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER11

    Coldwell Banker

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER12

    Coldwell Banker

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER13

    Julie Partain

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER14

    Lisa Haass

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER14

    Leslie Blevins

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER14

    Yolo FCU

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER15

    David Campos

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER16

    Heather Barnes

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER16

    Willowbank Park

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER16

    Kim Eichorn

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER17

    Dana Hawkins & Caitlin McCalla

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER18

    Dana Hawkins & Caitlin McCalla

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER18

    Susan von Geldern

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER19

    Open House Map

    By jboydston | From Page: RER19

    Chris Snow

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER19

    Travis Credit Union

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER20

    Lynne Wegner

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER21

    Kim Merrel Lamb

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER21

    Martha Bernauer

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER21

    Patricia Echevarria

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER21

    Open House Map

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER23

    F1rst Street Real Estate

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER24