dear god, it’s finally here! this sat-sun-mon, the long-awaited Beethoven festival is upon us at the schnitz. all 5 of Ludwig’s piano concertos will be performed over the extended weekend, along with several other LvB gems.
why go? um, yeah, did you read the above? well, allow me to lay it out for you: 1) first off, the solo pianist arnaldo cohen is flying in all the way from hoosier country to be with us (had to get a midwestern shout-out in there, sorry). anytime a world-class soloist joins the symphony for a single number, it’s an amazing thing of virtuosic beauty and worth the price of admission. brother cohen will be doing a total of six different numbers with the symphony, which is one kick-ass feat of stamina, knowledge, and musicianship. i’m secretly hoping he will also place a marble bust of the composer on the grand piano. 2) saturday night, in addition to concerto #2 and the sweetest version of Beethoven’s only opera overture, the band will bring back the highly intriguing quirine viersen on solo cello, who will team up with brother cohen on 88 keys, and our very own concertmaster jun “whoa-nellie-we-are-so-lucky-to-have-him-in-pdx-i-hope-he-never-leaves-please-increase-his-salary” iwasaki on solo violin for Ludwig’s triple concerto. 3) sunday night the schnitz will be turned into a giant mud pit cage match when the very cool, proper, rationally classical concerto uno squares off against the very hip, unusual, passionately romantic concerto cuatro… come see who wins! 4) monday night, in addition to another overture and the third concerto, the festival finale will bring down the house with Beethoven’s piano concerto #5, aka “the emperor.” in my world, it’s the most perfect marriage of piano and orchestra ever created… i imagine Ludwig might have felt the same way, because even though he lived 16 more years after he wrote it, he never composed another concerto for piano. tears actually came to my eyes several times when i got to hear the symphony rehearse it earlier this week… yep, it’s that good. 5) the complete presentation of every piano concerto Beethoven ever wrote over three days time – this will be an extremely rare achievement and would be a cause for celebration no matter where in the world it took place. starting tomorrow, it’s taking place in portland. hotdamn, see you there!
check out www.orsymphony.org for more deets.